The divine command to honour our parents binds not only the children; I feel it has some binding force on the parents. This may be heavily subjective, but my feeling that one has to be honourable to be honoured is solid. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to add or remove from the word of God but only trying to put a message across. Truly, the call to honour our parents is not a form of flippancy at all or a joke, and it is a demand that must be honoured in all circumstances.
That parental obligation to help children learn from the cradle the need to honour parents and elders is not just African but Christian. This parental obligation dawned on me when I stepped into the National Shrine of St. Rita of Cascia in the city of Philadelphia (U.S.A.). It is a shrine manage by the American Augustinians of the province of St. Thomas of Vilanova. In that shrine is the Blessed Virgin Mary’s statue in a style I’ve never seen before, a very captivating statue of the infant Mary.
Like most shrines, there stood a statue of a woman with a little child by her side, and as a Catholic, I immediately thought of Mary and Jesus. A closer look at the statue revealed the inscription at the base; rather, Anne, the mother of Mary and her little girl Mary in a posture that reflects sanctity, Catholicism.
The bible may be silent about Mary’s childhood; it tells, however, that it was divinely planned that the son of a woman would crush the head of the ancient serpent, and Mary became that woman. No doubt God had special plans for Mary; her parents, however, must have played some significant role in her upbringing as the sculptor tried to reflect in that beautiful statue in the shrine of St. Rita of Cascia.
Like Anne, Mary’s mother, every Catholic Parent and intending parents must learn to make their children “walk by their side”. Teach hand the faith over to them for it is your responsibility. You don’t know what to teach them? The Catholic faith, what to believe, and what the Faith means. Catholic worship, prayer and the sacraments, Catholic morality, the Decalogue, and the beatitudes. In other words, we are talking about the meaning of religious education. It means, therefore, that the parents train the children, both in their minds and in their wills on all three levels of our religious instruction. Namely, our minds are to believe, how we are to worship God, and especially how we are to put what we believe into practice, in other words, how we are to behave. The Blessed Virgin Mary must have been positively influenced by her parents (Joachim and Anne) to learn the need to live a holy life. It is, therefore, also our responsibility to defend hand the faith on to our kids.