From The Catholic Family Handbook, Fr. Lovasik
Put your family ahead of your activities outside your home
Marriage demands companionship. The wish to be with the one loved is a sign of true love. To be satisfied being with each other only when this can hardly be avoided leads to taking love for granted.
So many people crowd their lives with too much activity and squeeze out of their schedule some of the things they would like to do or ought to do. They are doing many things that are good, but they are neglecting other things that are better and more important.
Perhaps this is because they lose sight of the primacy of the obligations arising from their family and home.
Your first duty is to your home and family. You have solemnly sworn an obligation to work for their happiness and salvation.
To be successful, families must be happy; and to be happy, the members must anticipate and fulfill the reasonable needs and desires of one another.
Trust in God
You are assured of God’s help. The Church teaches that through the sacrament of Matrimony, you and your spouse are assured of God’s constant help. Therefore, you must firmly trust in God.
In the next life, you may expect still greater blessings if on earth you have tried to build your home on the model of the Holy Family of Nazareth. God is never outdone in generosity.
If you serve Him as well as you can, you can be certain that He will bless you abundantly. If, on the other hand, you deliberately break His laws, you can be sure of depriving yourself and your family of His blessing.
The primary requisite for family happiness is union with God, who is the source of all happiness in this world and in the next. No one has such powerful means and more frequent opportunities of being united with God than a conscientious Catholic.
Keep in touch with God through the frequent reception of the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist and by much prayer. Work hard for your family and their happiness as if everything thing depended upon you. Pray to God and trust Him even more, because everything really depends upon Him.
Our Lord said, “Abide in me, and I in you…. Apart from me you can do nothing.””
Patience is a powerful help in married life. It controls and restrains strains angry feelings and outbursts of anger. It is a mature virtue that shows superiority of intellect, practical wisdom in daily life, strength of will, and a good, humble, and benevolent heart.
The more spiritual progress you make, the more patient and gentle you will become. Patience procures for you love and influence. It attracts people to you and is of the utmost importance in the family, since you spend so much of your lives together.
Impatience, on the other hand, drives people away. It does no good and much harm, especially in the case of parents who are engaged in the rearing of children.
Impatience is certainly not the spirit of Jesus. In order to be patient, you must be prayerful and prepared for the inevitable unpleasantness in this life.
Although you will never be able to arrange matters so that there will be nothing to provoke you to impatience, you can live by the principle that there is no reason in the world for getting impatient.
Avoid being unjustly angry
Anger, which overrides the requirement of justice and charity, is a destroyer of family peace and happiness. There is such a thing as just anger, and even Christ became angry when He saw something wrong that deeply offended Him.
But anger is wrong when it is out of proportion to whatever occasioned it, when it becomes senseless fury, or when it accomplishes more harm than good.
In the family, you must practice forbearance, clemency, and patience, lest your children suffer from anger that runs wild. Anger is a homewrecker of deadly efficiency. It causes family members to lose respect for each other, and where respect is missing, love can hardly survive.
If you indulge in anger frequently, conditions get worse instead of better, because you are constantly seeking new, sharper ways of hurting others.
Anger leads to deep dislike and brooding hatred. This is the worst possible atmosphere in which to raise children. Giving in to anger was condemned by Christ. Outbursts of temper are contrary to the whole idea of charity that He preached.
There are occasions, however, when reasonable anger may be a forceful means of correction or the lesser of two evils. Scripture says, “Be angry, but sin not.”
You may be justly angry when your spouse suggests something sinful. In that case, you are directing your anger to the correction or prevention of sin, and your anger may be justified if it is held in reasonable bounds.
A short flurry of anger may at times be the lesser of two evils – for instance, if you are temperamentally inclined to hold a deep grudge for a long time unless you bring the matter into the open at the start and so end it.
A secretly nursed grudge may also be the cause of anger. A grudge is a permanent refusal to forgive a real or imaginary injury. As long as you hold a grudge, you are inviting anger, and you are in some degree responsible for anger in others.
This anger can be detected in your tone of voice, in the silence of your mood, and in the very atmosphere of your home. If you want to prevent explosions of anger in your home, do not permit grudges to last more than a day.
Correction of temper is mostly a matter of self-control. Hide your feelings of displeasure. Be silent when you feel like saying harsh words.
Cultivate a spirit of forgiveness and humility. You will seldom rejoice over your explosions of anger. But you will be glad that you did not say the things you wanted to say when you were angry.
“Holiness means happiness. Holy people are happy people at peace with God, with others, and with themselves.
There is only one requirement. You must do God’s will. This embraces various obligations and gives you corresponding rights and privileges.
This is the lesson of the Holy Family. The will of God must count for everything in our daily lives. Prosaic deeds done for God can lead to spectacular holiness.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were human, intensely human in the best sense of the word. They show us how our lives, too, should be human–truly warm and Godlike.” -Fr. Lovasik
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