by Fr. George Parker
The Beatitudes are worthy of our study. The first Beatitude, from the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus, encourages us to be poor in spirit. To be poor in spirit, we must empty ourselves of anything and everything that tends to displace Jesus Christ in our lives. Jesus must be first in our lives. He can’t be in second place. He must always be front and center.
Material goods are gifts from God and are meant to be utilized to assist us as stepping stones on the journey to Heaven. We must not allow material goods to become stumbling blocks on our path to Heaven. You need to teach your children at a very early age that Jesus Christ must be at the absolute center of our lives. If you do this, you should feel confident to be teachers of your children, to be able to pass on the Faith. You should never feel that you are not up-to-snuff; with the first Beatitude, you are validated, you are an authentic teacher of the Gospel of Christ to your children.
Will There Be Setbacks?
You will have setbacks. You will have opposition, sometimes from those you least expect it. You will, in a real sense, mourn. Yet you will become genuinely meek to those who oppose you. You will become merciful and forgiving.
We are living in the worst of times and the best of times. When I was young, everything in the society supported my Faith, everything in the culture supported my Faith. Today your children must be counter-cultural. It takes courage. In teaching your children holiness, you will pass on to them the light to see and behold the face of God.
St. Paul wrote that a multitude of saints washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. They answered God’s call to holiness. The saints freely chose to walk in the light of Christ. Only Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We are also called to holiness. If we are to enter Heaven, we must become holy as our Heavenly Father is holy.
Holiness is a Person, Jesus Christ. How do we wash our robes white in the blood of the Lamb? By the constant pursuit of holiness in the sacraments, especially in the sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist.
You homeschooling parents are courageously choosing not to expose your children to the darkness, or to the latest fads among educators. Rather, you want to expose them to the light, to the truth, to the Faith, and to everything revealed by God and all His Church teaches.
I know about the subtle forms of persecution of you and of your children. I know that many of your neighbors look upon you with disdain. Many of your neighbors think you are un-American or anti-social. But you must be courageous. Don’t give up! These are man-made roadblocks. Take heart! Rejoice and be glad! Your reward in Heaven will be great!
When that great day comes, when you will be in the Kingdom and behold the face of God, you will look back and say, “What a marvelous bargain!”
Being called to holiness involves taking up the cross! It is a daily requirement of holiness to take up our cross. We are not called to be comfortable. We are called to holiness and to take up our cross.
Many voices are calling us to the darkness and to avoid the cross. But you homeschooling parents have ignored those voices, you have ignored the invitation to step into the darkness. You have clearly recognized that it is better to be a member of the Mystical Body of Christ.
The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, with Christ as the Head, and we and our children are members of the Mystical Body of Christ. Do you remember the answer we memorized from the Baltimore Catechism? God made us to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be eternally happy with Him in Heaven.
Why We Homeschool
You are homeschooling your children precisely because you do know Him, you do love Him, and you are serving Him through homeschooling your children. You are teaching your children in a chaotic world to know, to love, and to serve Jesus Christ. What greater gift could you give them? You are giving them the faith and the courage to avoid and reject the darkness. You are giving them the courage to walk in the light of Christ.
Continue your work as very special disciples of Jesus Christ, no matter what the man-made obstacles, no matter what the personal cost, no matter what ridicule or insults or subtle persecutions. Don’t let these deter you from teaching your children.
“Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad for your reward will be great in heaven.” One day, as a result of what you are doing, you will hear the words of our Blessed Lord. “Come, Blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you since before the foundation of the world.”
It is the best of times precisely because it is the worst of times out there. You and your children have a chance to exercise your discipleship in a much more dramatic way than our parents or grandparents. In doing that, you are walking in the light of Christ, and you will one day see God. My brothers and sisters, praised be Jesus Christ.
Father Parker passed away a few years ago. He was an active pro-life priest, and spoke at a Seton homeschooling conference.