I have been away from this blog for a long time. As yesterday was the Feast of the Holy Family, I thought this would be a great day to start a new blog. It's especially fitting since many of the thoughts I have had lately have revolved around marriage and family.
St. Joseph, Our Blessed Mother, and Our Lord were the model family. They lived quiet and humble lives before, during, and after Jesus' Nativity and Crucifixion. The Holy Scripture is mostly silent about them until Jesus' ministry became a public one. As Holy and magnificent as they were, they went about their lives doing God's will. They lived quietly, simply, honestly, and purely not completely understanding the outcome but living in obedience to the One True God. As such, they are the best example for family life that any of us can have---a father whose goal is to protect and care for his Wife and Child, a Mother who's pure, prudent, obedient, merciful, sorrowful, and a Son who's Holy, obedient, and patient. This was not a family seeking financial security, self-actualization, or fame. They only wanted to do God's will.
It seems to me, then, that this would be the example that Catholic families would follow. I suspect this was mostly the case before WWII in America. Catholic families came to this country from homelands suffering famine, desolation, and war. They came here, mostly into the cities, found jobs or opened up small businesses. Priests were sent, pennies were offered, and churches were built. Children were born, families and neighborhoods grew, communities thrived, and most lived simple lives following the example of the Most Holy Family.
Over the last century though, family life, and ultimately Catholicism, has been under attack and slowly the fabric of our society has begun to unravel. The threads are laid bare now and we are hanging on by a few strings. Slowly modernism has crept into the thoughts and minds of educators, business owners, and law-makers until it has stretched its ugly roots all under the ground of our society. One can't escape it, really, without much suffering and sorrow. While modernism and the destruction of society and the Church arguably began with the Enlightenment, there are some ideas that have taken root so deeply that it may be difficult, if not impossible to get rid of.
1) The Protestant Work Ethic. When the Protestants rejected the Sacraments as the necessary means for salvation and opened the pearly gates to "all believers in Jesus," they had to develop a means to fight off the devil and determine who had received God's graces. These outward indications of grace have subsequently evolved into working 10 or 12 hours a day and accumulating material possessions. The discussion of the Protestant Work Ethic is worthy of an entire blog post. But since space and time limit many of the details, I can say that this concept has led to an immediate breakdown in families, the rejection of good works and true charity, and the U.S's attraction to entertainment. Americans spend all their time working and spend all their money on things they can't do because they are working. What sort of toll does this have on the families?
2) Egalitarianism. This concept has quietly and systematically stripped our society and institutions of all structure and sanity. I am not talking here about human dignity. Yes, all people are created in the image of God. I am also not talking about the missions and abilities that God has given to people over the course of history. Some of the greatest monarchs and saints have been women. Rather I am talking about the idea of egalitarianism that attempts to erase the desire or need for social class, status, or role. The French Revolution, The Protestant Revolt, The American Revolution, Marxism, Socialism, Feminism, Occupy Wall Street---all of these "revolts" hold as one central idea to completely eradicate the classes. Titles which used to foster respect and due reverence have been rejected for fear of creating class-warfare. Everyone is on a first name basis and everyone looks the same. As a result, children have little respect for their parent's authority, bosses hang out with their employees, and the Catholic priesthood has been reduced to just another career option.
3) Feminism. I could spend a lifetime refuting feminism. This ideology has probably done more damage to our society and families than anyone could care to imagine. No organization or institution is exempt from the effects of feminism. Women, in droves, have abandoned their children to day care providers, so they can become self-actualized by joining the work-force. Feminism, without dispute, has been a major catalyst in the sky-rocketing of divorce rates. Feminism, without dispute, has led to the plummet in birthrates across the globe and the death of millions of unborn Americans through abortion. It has led to the attitude that unless women are working outside their homes, they are worthless, ignorant, oppressed, or a combination of the three. Feminism is an insidious disease that has infected countless numbers of homes, individuals, and children. Divorce among married women with children is common place. Pregnancy is inconvenient and birth control is considered responsible parenting. Some may believe that the Catholic Church has held her own against feminism, but that is simply not true. Altar girls are standard fare on any given Sunday and in many parishes more women take on liturgical roles than do men.
The family is the basic unit of society. When families are healthy, the society that grows around them is robust. But when the families begin to break down, society begins to fall into an abyss. Modern people, who are invested in the ideologies mentioned above, would like you to believe that there are all "kinds" of families and that these families are all equal and good for society. To hear them tell it, it doesn't really matter what kind of family children are raised in as long as there is love. They believe this because if they didn't, they would have to take a long hard look at their work ethic and their value system.
It has long been reported by anyone with a voice that our society is in a downward spiral. There is also no shortage of opinions on what the cause is and what to do about it. But the answer is simple. Families are falling apart---and our society encourages it. As long as we buy into feminist ideology, egalitarianism, and the Protestant work ethic our families are going to continue to suffer and fail. Those families who recognize the problems and are determined to make a difference in their own lives through God's graces may well find themselves facing suffering and hardships they cannot imagine. When times seem particularly difficult, though, we always have the example of the Holy Family to guide us.
St. Joseph, protect us.
Most Beautiful Mother, pray for us.
Divine Infant, have mercy on us.