II. Restoration Of The Family



-Pope St. John Paul II

      I don’t know about you, but saying something in Latin, not only sounds better, but makes you seem smarter-it’s an old Church trick. Here “Ecclesia Domestica” simply means “Domestic Church”, which is the home church that every Catholic family home is called to be. It’s what families going back to Abraham did: prayed, taught, worshipped, sacrificed, and passed on the faith and knowledge of God, and how to live in accordance with His laws. Fathers are called to be the priest of the family, the Patriarch of the Domestic Church, usually with the help of a  Matriarch who holds it all together. Parents are to be the primary teachers of our children, giving them the sword of faith and shield of morality they will need, otherwise they will be easily overcome by the faithless and immoral culture that surrounds us. We have to equip them with the tools and weapons they will need to survive in a culture that is set on destroying their purity, their holiness, their chastity, and their eternal soul. Too many of us have failed to shepherd our children and simply send them out likes sheep before wolves, and wonder why they return so wounded, if they return at all.


      We can’t just send them to Catholic schools or go to Mass once a week, and think that’s somehow enough, that somehow we aren’t primarily responsible for the state of their souls, that we don’t need to not only reinforce what they learn, but also put what they’ve learned into practice as models of the faith. We need to create for them a sanctuary and oasis from the profanity, immorality, and godlessness that permeate the culture. We need to show them what we value the most, by surrounding them with the beautiful trappings of our Catholic Identity, and by authentic prayer, love, and joy centered on Christ. We need to ground them in their faith, so that they are comfortable speaking about it, and give them the supportive environment they need to discern what their mission from God is, and the courage to accept it, for they will not find that true joy unless they fulfill their mission and use the gifts God has given them for the building up of God’s family on earth. It was no overstatement of St Pope John Paul II who predicted,“the future of the Church and the world passes through the family” We also need to open our homes to others, inviting families into these domestic churches, just like the early church did, enabling it to grow and develop. We need to invite, inspire and encourage other families to build up their own cenacles of prayer, virtue and love, restoring the world one house at a time. Only then can they go out and do likewise in an organic, inspired family-to-family transmission of the Faith. For if they are not formed in the Faith, they will be malformed by the culture.

     This is the new evangelization lived out at the most basic level, one that can never be found in a pre-packaged program or out of the box evangelization kit. I know, I was on a committee that studied all the major evangelization programs out there, and, though some had good ideas, we found them all to be lacking. For our faith has a distinctive social dimension to it, which makes the effectiveness of any call to begin or deepen one’s faith more dependent upon relationships and personal invitation than theological persuasion or Biblical proof texts. We know it works, because it’s based upon the proven track record established by Jesus Himself and His apostles. For the Early Church was set up in exactly this way- with the growing Christian community gathering house to house in the homes of the faithful, which blessed, sanctified, converted and protected host and guest alike. We must be like Jesus who, in His very first words from the gospel of John, when asked where He was staying responded ”Come and see” and invite others into the sanctuaries of our Domestic Churches. By inviting other families into our homes, for faith, food, fun and fellowship we can deepen and spread the faith, whole families at a time, in the most personal and effective means possible, with these families in turn, doing the same for other families. This is how the future of the world passes through the family, and this is why the family has been under relentless attack for more than a generation. By building up our own Ecclesia Domesticas, and by not shirking our eternal responsibilities as parents in the raising of virtuous Christian children, we can save not only the domestic church, but the universal church as well.