Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Fatherhood Prudence and Leadership

[editor: I hoped to have this up for Father's Day. But it took longer than I thought.]
There are three styles of fathering:
1.Authoritarian 2. Permissive
3. Leadership

1.) Authoritarian fathering uses lots of commands, yelling and threats but little reasoning--draconian in nature.
"Fathers, provoke not your children to indignation, lest they be discouraged." (Colossians 3:21) “My sons, in my long experience very often I had to be convinced of this great truth. It is easier to become angry than to restrain oneself, and to threaten a boy than to persuade him." (St. John Bosco; Office of Readings, Jan. 31.)

2.) Permissive fathering is high on affection but low on authority. Subconsciously children can feel un-loved because they feel not worth the effort to set boundaries. Children raised by permissive parents do not learn age-appropriate behaviors and the consequences for performance or non-performance.

"What  will  become  of  boys  when  from  earliest  youth  they  are  without  teachers?...  to  exercise  this  child’s  soul  in  virtue,  to  that  no  man  any  longer  pays  heed." (St. John Chrysostum VAINGLORY and THE RIGHT WAY FOR PARENTS TO BRING UP THEIR CHILDREN #18)

3.) Leadership  fathering combines confidence  with reasoning, love, and encouragement. Yelling is avoided.

"Let us be ashamed to assume an attitude of superiority. Let us not rule over them except for the purpose of serving them better.
This was the method that Jesus used with the apostles. He put up with their ignorance and roughness and even their infidelity."
(St. John Bosco; Office of Readings, Jan. 31.)
 We wish to focus on leadership fathering, which is what Christ wishes of us. Leadership is the "mean"; the virtue of prudence, between the Authoritarian and the Permissive approach.
A good  understanding of  the Catholic Faith must be instilled in the children. The Theological Virtues of faith, hope, and love, like perfume, should leave their scent in all activities.
But Piety must be virtuous --meaning balanced. The family is not for monks, soldiers, or a tool for self-fulfillment. It is a formation program for good Catholics. Teach your children short ejaculatory prayers that they should say throughout the day. Long prayers can be too much of a drudgery for young children.
Ejaculatory prayers of aspirations were esteemed among the ancient monks of St. Mark in Egypt; because, being short, they did not weary the mind.
"Wherefore they [the monks of St. Mark] think it best for the prayers to be short and offered up very frequently " (Cassian: INSTITUTES OF THE COENOBIA. ch.10)
The goal of the family, as with each individual is:

THE PRESENCE OF GOD-- prayer and virtue

The quest for virtue must begin with prayer. Prayer is the most necessary virtue to acquire.
Why should we pray?
If God knows our needs before even we know them, why do we need to pray?
 "Your Father knows that you have need of all these things." (Matthew 6:32)
Since God was rejected by Adam in the Garden. To a certain extent, Adam shut God out of relationship with humanity; he chose it. The devil thought he had now won.
But there are other avenues God could still use, so that  His relationship with Man would not die, chief among these is prayer.
"For we pray not that we may change the Divine disposition, but that we may impetrate that which God has disposed to be fulfilled by our prayers in other words "that by asking, men may deserve to receive what Almighty God from eternity has disposed to give," as [St. Gregory the Great ] says (Dial. i, 8) "
(Summa Theologica, II-ii: Question 83--art. 2)

Our personal life on earth, because of the FALL, can be thought of as a door that is constantly closing on certain graces, and all God "needs" is for us to constantly open it; we open the door for Him to act, and receive the graces He wished from all eternity to give us. This is a condition caused by the FALL. We live in a fallen world, with a fallen nature. God warned Adam of this condition.
"Behold, I stand at the door and am knocking; if any one hear my voice and open the door, I will come in unto him and sup with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20)
Before the FALL God conversed with Man, as we speak to a friend. Genesis 2 indicates that God spoke to Adam about his needs.
"Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18)
And in Genesis 3:8-9, implies  that everyday God met Adam and Eve in the cool of the day, but on the day they FELL they hide.
What is prayer?
Prayer is the raising up of the mind and heart to God.  There are 4 major forms of prayer:
Worship-- The highest is the Divine Liturgy --the Mass. We  must acknowledge God is greater than ourselves, or any created thing.
"Heaven is full, and the earth as well is full of your magnificent glory, O Lord of Hosts. Fill too this sacrifice with Your power and communion, for we offer You this living sacrifice and unbloody offering . . ."
(St. Serapion of Thmuis, "The Anaphora of Serapion" 4; A.D. 339)
Petition-- Inviting God into one's life and actions-- wisdom, protection, healing, needs...etc...
"Let us therefore, brethren beloved, pray as God our Teacher has taught us...And since we have Him as an Advocate with the Father for our sins, let us, when as sinners we petition on behalf of our sins, put forward the words of our Advocate. For since He says, that:
 "whatsoever we shall ask of the Father in His name, He will give us," John 16:23 "
(St. Cyprian of Carthage, Treatise 4: "On the Lord's Prayer," #3, --death 258 AD)