Parenthood (by its very name), the domestic church (by its very nature), and common sense all point to that culture being the Culture of Life. As parents, my wife and I have a moral obligation to make our home one established in the Culture of Life. Blessed John Paul II, during the 1993 World Youth Day, stated to journalists:
“The culture of life means respect for nature and protection of God’s work of creation. In a special way, it means respect for human life from the first moment of conception until its natural end.”
Thus it is necessary for my wife and I to make the culture of our home one of life.
How do we do that?
Our parenthood, rooted in the Culture of Life, is honest, open, and willing.
We believe, and teach our children to believe, in the truth, especially in matters pertaining to human life. Our kids need to see real concern on our part. If they don’t, they aren’t likely to see the importance of the various “life” issues. One of the best ways we can do this is to pray for particular life issues with our kids. Intentions like an end to abortion, openness to life in the family, and respect for the elderly are all worthwhile and necessary things we as a family can offer up in prayer. A great starting point is praying a rosary, once a week or once a month, that our modern culture will become a Culture of Life.
In addition, we have to actively promote the Culture of Life, and we have to repeatedly discuss its importance with our children. Parenthood requires that we strive to make the most of each opportunity to form our children’s consciences properly. As they grow older we will most certainly teach them in-depth about issues like abortion, euthanasia, sterilization, and contraception as well as why the Catholic Church has always opposed them.
Without a good conscience and a solid foundation for understanding these issues, emotional stress can distort decisions they will have to make in the future.
As parents, it is up to us to discern when it will be appropriate to talk about what abortion or euthanasia is with our children. We currently have small children, so for them simply knowing that we love life is a great start. But there are ways to teach without introducing the evils of abortion to our kids. There are many wonderful children books and programs focused on conveying the value of human life and the goodness of God’s creation and the natural order. Having these in the home and reading them to our children is extremely beneficial in fostering that genuine appreciation for life.
Equally important is for us, as parents, to be well informed. There are many valuable pro-life books as well as several beginner-level introductions to things like Blessed John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and The Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae).
Having that foundation, we can better understand the theological and moral teachings behind the Catholic position on the various life issues and be better equipped to explain them to our kids, as they grow older. This is especially important before our children leave for college, when they will be introduced to lots of contrary, often immoral, ideologies.
Our instruction and our example are the best ways to make our honest commitment to the Culture of Life visible.
My wife and I remain open to God’s will for our lives, therefore we remain open to life. Blessed John Paul II, in his Letter to Families, wrote:
In particular, responsible fatherhood and motherhood directly concern the moment in which a man and a woman uniting themselves “in one flesh,” can become parents. This is a moment of special value both for their interpersonal relationship and for their service to life: they can become parents – father and mother – by communicating life to a new human being. The two dimensions of conjugal union, the unitive and the procreative, cannot be artificially separated without damaging the deepest truth of the conjugal act itself. – pg 34
All life issues are moral issues. As parents, my wife and I must be moral models for our children.
We have to be open to the reality that the moral teachings of the Catholic Church, especially those pertaining to life, are for our good; they keep us in harmony with natural law and the natural order, as well as faithful to the will of God.
The word willing means favorably disposed in mind; prompt to act or respond. St. Paul, in his letter the Romans said:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Rom 12:2
The Culture of Life is good, acceptable, and perfect in that it is a culture based on the intrinsic value and goodness of human life and nature. It is a culture in harmony with God’s will.
When we, as parents, manifest our desire to live in accord with God’s will we make present – for ourselves, our children, and our culture – the Culture of Life.
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