My song this morning: Christ be our light

I woke up with this song playing in my mind:

I took it, and made it a song of praise in my heart.

Then when I got up, I read today’s mass readings, which included these verses:

Reading 2 Eph 5:8-14
Brothers and sisters:
You were once darkness,
but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light,
for light produces every kind of goodness
and righteousness and truth.
Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness;
rather expose them, for it is shameful even to mention
the things done by them in secret;
but everything exposed by the light becomes visible,
for everything that becomes visible is light.
Therefore, it says:
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.”

Verse Before the Gospel Jn 8:12
I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
whoever follows me will have the light of life.

Gospel Jn 9:1-41
As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth.
His disciples asked him,
“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents,
that he was born blind?”
Jesus answered,
“Neither he nor his parents sinned;
it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.
We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day.
Night is coming when no one can work.
While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
When he had said this, he spat on the ground
and made clay with the saliva,
and smeared the clay on his eyes,
and said to him,
“Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” —which means Sent—.
So he went and washed, and came back able to see…

There are many versions of this song available on Youtube. I picked that one because the people look so full of light and happy!

It seems that I do receive a lot of signal graces from the Lord. I wonder if it’s because He knows how hard it is for me to believe that He is absolutely committed to me.

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The parents’ magisterium for guiding the domestic church

Holy Family
The domestic church of the Holy Family.

It occurs to me that parenthood confers a type of authority that is analogous to a magisterium. I looked at a few different definitions of the word, and they all said something along this line:

The authority of the church to teach religious truth.

Some of them specifically mentioned the Catholic Church. Others provided an etymology that indicated that the word comes to us from the Latin magister (ma-ji-stare), which means master.

It is not a stretch to say that parents have authority to teach religious truth to their own children. Who else is going to teach it? Who else should teach it? Should parents just wait for religious leaders to teach religious truth to their children? I think all Christians of good will can see that this would be a bad idea, even a dereliction of duty.

We also have the idea of the domestic church:

From the beginning, the Church was formed from believers “and their whole household.” New believers wanted their family to be saved (Acts 18:8).

In our modern world (often hostile to religion), religious families are extremely important centers of living faith. They are “domestic churches” in which the parents are the first heralds of faith (Second Vatican Council). In the home, father, mother, and children exercise their baptismal priesthood in a privileged way. The home is the first school of the Christian life where all learn love, repeated forgiveness, and prayerful worship.

Another source says:

The Christian family IS a church, the smallest and most vital cell of that Body. The extended church community is a family of families. This understanding is more than piety–it is sound ecclesiology, solid anthropology, in fact it is reality for those who are baptized into Christ Jesus…

There is almost a liturgical sameness to the pattern that emerges after so many years- by practice, developed spiritual purpose, and just plain ordinary human repetition. But it can all become transforming when lived out “in Christ”. It is here, where the “rubber hits the road” for most Christians. It is here that the universal call to holiness, in all its real, earthy, incarnation is lived out-in all of its humanness and ordinariness.

Regarding parental authority, there is some controversy surrounding the phrase, “Because I said so.” But I think it is a legitimate response in certain contexts. For example, a very young child might ask why but not be able to understand the reasons. Or in a crisis, the parents might not have time to explain why. I think explaining why is a courtesy parents give to their children; it is not a requirement imposed upon them by the children. The phrase highlights the nature of parental authority. Children really do have to obey, even if they don’t like, understand, or know the reasons why (assuming good will and nothing nefarious on the part of the parents).

If there is a “domestic church,” then it follows that there is a domestic teaching authority invested in parents, which we might infer is a domestic magisterium. This magisterium must be obeyed.