Fr. Hardon Teaches Families to Fight for Survival

The war against the family is at a new height of madness. Let us not waste our time – let's fight an extraordinary fight.

Giorgio Vasari (1511–1574) and Andrea del Sarto (1486–1530), “The Holy Family”, 16th century
Giorgio Vasari (1511–1574) and Andrea del Sarto (1486–1530), “The Holy Family”, 16th century (photo: Public Domain)

“Where the Christian family — the Catholic Christian Family — is strong, the Catholic Church is strong.” —Servant of God Fr. John Hardon

Out here in rural North Dakota during calving season, ranchers are on the look out for two things – bad weather, and baby calves. If a calf is born during a spring snowstorm, it may or may not survive. Its mother will shelter it and nurse it the best that she can, but in order for it to really make it through, the rancher will need to come to its rescue and bring it into a warm barn, just in time. The more resilient the baby calf, the more hearty and fatty she is, the better chance she has to stay alive until the rancher can find her waiting, helplessly, out on the prairie.

The baby calves remind me of our children, and the pagan culture of darkness in which we live reminds me of the “bad weather” looming on the horizon. The mother cow is like faithful Catholic parents nowadays, and the rancher, like God the Father. As fathers and mothers, we have the divine calling to nurture and protect the vulnerable spiritual lives of our children, and illuminate them continually with the mercy of Christ. As guardians of the gift of our children, we must provide protection for them against threatening spiritual storms, and do all we can to bring them safely into the Father's embrace.

Saintly people often speak words that shed the fire of the Holy Spirit – prophetic words that ignite our hearts in phenomenal ways. Such was the case with Servant of God Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., time and time again. He once said, “Before God, parents have received a sacred trust. No one has a higher trust than they. No one has a higher responsibility than they. But, I must add, no one can take either the trust or the responsibility away. It belongs to the parents because it is given to them by God. The children they call theirs are first of all His. They came from Him and they are destined for Him.”

Fr. Hardon foresaw the impetuous war that would ravage Christian marriage and the “domestic church,” and he did all he could to build up the lifeblood of the Catholic family. He worked tirelessly to show families that their union was something sacred, radiant and unbreakable, something undoubtedly inspired by the heart of God. And because of its ineffable power, he understood that it was a prime target of Satan and his minions. As attacking a body at the cellular level will ultimately cause the entire body to die, so destroying the family, the “vital cell” of society, will bring total death to the spiritual life of the human race. As Fr. Hardon once proclaimed:

The Catholic family in super-developed countries like the United States is on trial for its existence. This is not my personal opinion but the measured judgment of the Vicars of Christ. One modern pope after another keeps warning the faithful about the deadly struggle going on in the world today, between Christ, the Light of the world, and Satan, the prince of darkness, and the main focus of this struggle is the FAMILY.

In order to be resolute in the face of this daunting struggle, Fr. Hardon reminded Catholic families that they must go beyond the ordinary call of duty. They must embrace Christ in all of His glory in the midst of the very dregs and ditches of family life. He taught families to take the Blessed Virgin Mary as their mother by praying to her, such as by observing the Angelus and the First Saturday devotion, wearing the brown scapular, and keeping a statue of her in their homes. As Fr. Hardon's powerful message to families continues:

No less than ordinary individual Catholics can survive, so ordinary Catholic families cannot survive. They have no choice. They must either be holy — which means sanctified — or they will disappear. The only Catholic families that will remain alive and thriving by the year 2000 are the families of martyrs. Father, mother and children must he willing to die for their God-given convictions. What the world most needs today is families of martyrs, who will reproduce themselves in spirit in spite of the diabolical hatred against family life by the enemies of Christ and His Church in our day.

Being a Dad or Mom these days is serious business that takes great courage, perhaps more than ever before. The stakes are high – awfully high. As Catholic parents, the future of Mother Church and the world hinges on how magnanimous our response to the divine graces of our vocation is. God has such a beautiful plan in store for each of our families – if only we can allow it to unfold, and see his glory alive and at work. The war against the family is at a new height of madness. Let us not waste our time – let's fight an extraordinary fight.

Representing the Holy Spirit that descended “like a dove” and hovered over Jesus when he was baptized.

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