Episode 5: The Church as a Pillar

Episode 5: The Church as a Pillar

Episode 5: The Church as a Pillar 1920 1080 Catholic Parents Online

Episode 5: The Church as a Pillar

This episode explores why and how our connection with the Church will help us immensely in our mission as Catholic parents.

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In the previous episode, we established that Christ must be the firm foundation upon which Catholic parenting is based. Upon this foundation are three pillars which we will need to support our mission as Catholic parents.

These are:

  1. Our connection with the Church,
  2. Our connection with our spouse in marriage, and
  3. Our connection with our children.

Today we explore the first pillar – the Church.

There are two aspects in which the Church can help us in our mission. These are the vertical and the horizontal dimensions.


The Vertical Dimension: Divine Life

In chapter 5 of St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians he describes, as a great mystery, the spousal union of Christ and His Church. A passage that St John Paul II describes as “the ‘crowning’ of the themes and truths.… in Sacred Scripture.” (Theology of the Body, 87:3)

As His bride, the Church receives the gift of Christ into herself, His life, His love, His graces, His redemptive power, and transmits these to us, in her teachings, in her liturgical life, and in a very special way, in her sacraments.

[cf. CCC 774 “The seven sacraments are the signs and instruments by which the Holy Spirit spreads the grace of Christ the head throughout the Church…”]

In that sense, the Church herself is like a sacrament – a visible sign of God’s grace, a sign and instrument, not only of our communion with God, but also of unity among men.

[“The Church, in Christ, is like a sacrament – a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all men.” (CCC 775)]

And as the Church unites all men in the “community of faith, hope, and charity”, she becomes a “visible organisation through which [Jesus] communicates [His] truth and grace to all men.” (CCC 771)

[“Christ established … His holy Church, the community of faith, hope, and charity, as a visible organisation through which He communicates truth and grace to all men.” (CCC 771) ]


The Horizontal Dimension: the Christian Community

Now, as that community of faith, hope, and charity, we are called to connect with each other, support each other, and lead each other on our pilgrimage to Heaven.

This is the horizontal dimension of the Church, whereby we journey with and support each other in our mission.

I strongly encourage you to be part of groups of like-minded individuals, couples or families in your communities. This can take the form of ministries, communities or support groups of people going through similar journeys in life, be it for couples, fathers, mothers, single parents, grandparents, and so on.

Through being part of a group of like-minded individuals on a similar journey together, we can also help each other when the need arises, e.g. helping with child care when another set of parents is not feeling well, or when they need some time for a couple date.

I suggest it would be a good idea to take turns in helping with each other’s kids so we can have dedicated date nights with our spouse, knowing that our kids are in good and safe hands.

This can really help in sharing our values with our children too, providing them with trusted mentors who can model our beliefs to them.


Conduits of Grace

For our reflection at the end of this session, let us ask ourselves: “How can I tap on the graces of Christ in His Church? And how can I share His love with other Catholics, especially those on a similar life journey as mine?

Allow me to summarise what we have discussed today.

  1. The Church serves as a wonderful and efficacious channel of Christ’s love, graces, truth and power.
  2. As a community of believers, we can and should support each other on our journey.

At the same time, let us remember that the work of our Church does not stop here. The Church by our nature is missionary, and as her members we must feel compelled to go forth and make disciples of all the nations, beginning with our children, our families.

The Church in her very nature is missionary, sent by Christ to all the nations to make disciples of them.” (CCC 767)

To facilitate this, we will need to connect with our spouse and our children – the second and third pillars of Catholic parenting, respectively. We will discuss these from the next episode onwards.


    The Church as Teacher and Mother for Couples in Difficulty (Familiaris consortio, n. 33)


    In the field of conjugal morality the Church is Teacher and Mother and acts as such.

    As Teacher, she never tires of proclaiming the moral norm that must guide the responsible transmission of life. The Church is in no way the author or the arbiter of this norm. In obedience to the truth which is Christ, whose image is reflected in the nature and dignity of the human person, the Church interprets the moral norm and proposes it to all people of good will, without concealing its demands of radicalness and perfection.

    As Mother, the Church is close to the many married couples who find themselves in difficulty over this important point of the moral life: she knows well their situation, which is often very arduous and at times truly tormented by difficulties of every kind, not only individual difficulties but social ones as well; she knows that many couples encounter difficulties not only in the concrete fulfillment of the moral norm but even in understanding its inherent values.

    But it is one and the same Church that is both Teacher and Mother. And so the Church never ceases to exhort and encourage all to resolve whatever conjugal difficulties may arise without ever falsifying or compromising the truth: she is convinced that there can be no true contradiction between the divine law on transmitting life and that on fostering authentic married love.[91] Accordingly, the concrete pedagogy of the Church must always remain linked with her doctrine and never be separated from it. With the same conviction as my predecessor, I therefore repeat: “To diminish in no way the saving teaching of Christ constitutes an eminent form of charity for souls.”[92]

    On the other hand, authentic ecclesial pedagogy displays its realism and wisdom only by making a tenacious and courageous effort to create and uphold all the human conditions-psychological, moral and spiritual-indispensable for understanding and living the moral value and norm.

    There is no doubt that these conditions must include persistence and patience, humility and strength of mind, filial trust in God and in His grace, and frequent recourse to prayer and to the sacraments of the Eucharist and of Reconciliation.[93] Thus strengthened, Christian husbands and wives will be able to keep alive their awareness of the unique influence that the grace of the sacrament of marriage has on every aspect of married life, including therefore their sexuality: the gift of the Spirit, accepted and responded to by husband and wife, helps them to live their human sexuality in accordance with God’s plan and as a sign of the unitive and fruitful love of Christ for His Church.