Catholic Fatherhood: Raise Your Children To Be Saints
Justin Haggerty | The Daily Knight
Inspired by Pope Francis' declaration of 2021 as the 'Year of St. Joseph,' The Daily Knight will produce weekly articles to share and clarify the vocation of 'Catholic Fatherhood.' Our mission, at the Sacred Military Order of Knights of the Republic and the Most Victorious Heart of Jesus, is to defeat modernism, the synthesis of all heresies, in the domestic church (the family), the parish, and society at large. Building your domestic church is the quintessential foundation for fostering the faith and rebuilding Christendom.
Prayer to St. Joseph by Pope Leo XIII:
To thee, O blessed Joseph, do we come in our tribulation, and having implored the help of thy most holy Spouse, we confidently invoke thy patronage also. Through that charity which bound thee to the immaculate Virgin Mother of God and through the paternal love with which thou embraced the Child Jesus, we humbly beg thee to graciously regard the inheritance which Jesus Christ has purchased by his Blood, and with thy power and strength to aid us in our necessities.
O most watchful Guardian of the Holy Family, defend the chosen children of Jesus Christ; O most loving father, ward off from us every contagion of error and corrupting influence; O our most mighty protector, be propitious to us and from heaven assist us in our struggle with the power of darkness; and, as once thou rescued the Child Jesus from deadly peril, so now protect God's Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; shield, too, each one of us by thy constant protection, so that, supported by thy example and thy aid, we may be able to live piously, to die holy, and to obtain eternal happiness in heaven. Amen.
Raise Your Children To Be Saints
During a homily, I once heard a priest say that if a father wishes his children to become saints, then he must be a better one.
We are all called to be Christlike:
"He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also to walk, even as He walked." (1 John 2:6)
"Be ye followers of me, as I also am of Christ." (1 Corinthians 11:1)
It is in Christ, where we find our sanctity and the ability to reflect holiness onto others. The more that we become united with Him, as St. Paul wrote "Christ liveth in me" (Galatians 2:20), there can be a direct correlation on the level of faith, hope, and charity, the three theological virtues, exemplified by our children. Through Christ, we can intercede for them, like the Saints.
And, as we know from the Baltimore Catechism No. 3, and a simple analysis of the Choirs of Angels, Apostles, Prophets, Martyrs, Virgins, Confessors, etc., there are various degrees of holiness. Council of Florence (1438-1445) teaches, they will “see clearly the one and Triune God Himself, just as He is, yet according to the diversity of merits, one more perfectly than another.” (Council of Florence, “Decree for the Greeks,” as cited in Roy J. Deferrari, trans., Denzinger: The Sources of Catholic Dogma [St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co., 1957], 220 [no. 693].)
The degree of our merits, just as they can warrant actual graces, can earn graces for others. Consider the affects of Holy Water, a Crucifix, Saintly Relics, or the universal prayers of the cloistered religious for the faithful. A father, as the priest of the domestic church (the family), can merit such graces for his children.
In a previous article on Catholic Fatherhood, I wrote:
"Like the fall of man, all good is fleeting outside the unitive condition with God. If a father wills his children to be saints, he must be a greater saint. If not, a saint will yield the blessed; blessed the venerable; venerable the faithful; faithful the lukewarm; lukewarm the non-believer; so on and so forth. By this degradation humanity fell, was washed by the flood, and once again was washed by the Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. By our Lord, we are all called to be Christlike, to be united in Him, and Him in us."
Not to be prideful, but this systematic degradation of grace is very accurate and illustrates the falling and decaying nature of the human condition. Without a strong paternal influence to orient a child's intellect to the Divine, the only opportunity the soul has for salvation is Providence. On God can pickup a lost soul and set it back on the tracks toward truth, peace, and happiness.
Today, as vocation to the Priesthood and religious life are reaching catastrophic levels, it is a tremendous blessing to see and be acquainted with a family with multiple children who have embraced such oaths and commitments for the salvation of souls. In the traditional Catholic community, more so than other sects of the Church, it is becoming commonplace to find multiple families in a parish that have set the conditions, for zealous Catholic formation, to raise future priests, sisters, and brothers for Christ's Church. In fact, our parish in Atlanta, has been blessed with roughly eight priests, seminarians, and discerning young men in the past 12 years.
Consider a time when every parish had multiple families, providing several priests and religious, with five to eight children and a subsequent twenty-five to forty grandchildren, of whom also formed servants of the Church. Over three generations, a parish could develop twenty to thirty priests and religious. It is through such formation that the Holy Eucharist was triumphantly carried to evangelize all corners of the world.
Even today, as we look at the little parish in Atlanta that celebrates the Tridentine Mass, such numbers are unprecedented and, outside of the Holy Ghost, can greatly be attributed to the graces merited by fathers, who conduct themselves in the nature of Christ.
In Christ Crucified and the Most Victorious Heart of Jesus.