at St Winefride's, Holywell at 1130am tomorrow (22nd October).
Not only did this man believe but, all those who were of his family followed his belief. Not one but many found the faith and salvation and this is a greater blessing than the physical life of the one child.
There is a saying that the apple does not fall far from the tree. I think it is wise that we consider the effects of the example that we give to children. There are many who would preach to their children: “Do what I say and not what I do.” These are not the words of a good teacher, much less of a good parent; they are words more befitting an actor.
Children are natural followers and imitators. The greatest and most natural example for them is their own parents. When parents have and live the true faith, their children will be much more inclined to naturally follow them. When parents are good their children are much more inclined to be good. But, when parents are bad their children are almost certainly to be bad. There are exceptions but these are rare. Because of our fallen nature we are more inclined to follow evil rather than good. Evil is the path of least resistance and our inherently lazy fallen nature tends to take that path. If parents live and strive to discipline and deny their self-wills they will be much more successful in their admonitions to their children to do likewise.
We have countless examples throughout history to show this. If we just consider Cain who killed his brother, we see that the evil of this man corrupted all his descendants. On the other hand Adam’s good son Seth gave rise to a good and pleasing race of men. We see the young Tobias who was virtuous and good even in the midst of evil people because he had a virtuous father. We see the step daughter of Herod acting in the most, cruel inhumanly and unwomanly manner as she demands the head of one of the greatest men ever – St. John the Baptist. What brought this child to such evil if not the evil of her mother Herodias, who was living in sin with Herod?
Perhaps one of the most telling examples is that of King David. As David lived rightly and justly his children were good. But, then he sinned committing adultery and murder. Even though he quickly repented we find that the damage had already been done to his children. Amon ravished his own sister Thamar, for which crime his brother Absalom caused him to be slain; Absalom in turn rebelled against his father, and was slain by the hand of Joab. Adonis, another son of David, also conspired against his father and intended to deprive him of the government, when he was captured as a rebel and put to death.
These examples are principally with parents but we must all take responsibility for the example that we provide for others. The younger generation looks to the older one and seeks to expand or take further what they have seen others do. Just as parents wish that their children will do better in this world than they have done, so do children wish to go further than their parents. The tragedy is that when children see the evils of the previous generation they do not wish to only follow but to surpass them.
Thus it was not enough for the children of the sixties to become rebellious like the children of the fifties were, they had to take it further. And where the children of the sixties would draw a line the children of the seventies were even more eager to cross over that line. And where the children of the seventies would not go the children of the eighties went eagerly. On and on this continues; each generation becoming worse than the previous one. Each sin builds on the previous one.
Now the older generations stand with their mouths agape in astonishment at the evils of the present day. Surely things cannot get worse, but as each year passes by, society pushes the boundaries a little bit further. As Christians, as Catholics we ought to set live the Gospel and set the standard and encourage others to follow Him, Our Lord Jesus Christ.