Disclaimer: I think it is important to clarify that if a parent is abusive, even though the principle of respecting their position applies, one needs to seek guidance from a reliable outside source. Keeping abuse “to yourself” is never a good thing!
When God Curses
The earthly blessing which God promises to dutiful children is converted into a proportionate curse, however, for those children who ignore, disregard and ruthlessly transgress the fourth commandment, and refuse to honor, love and obey their parents. For their hostile attitude to His representatives God will pursue these unnatural children with His wrath, which will overtake them sooner or later, even in this life.
Usually God’s punishment is after the manner of the transgression, and when these ingrate children once become parents them-selves, provided God vouchsafes parenthood to them, their filial ingratitude will be avenged by the coldness and heartlessness of their own children towards them.
God will not be mocked. The inimical position unloving children take to their parents of itself renders their life unpleasant and miserable, and creates a spirit of mutual aversion, distrust and antagonism that depresses the soul, gnaws at the heart, impairs the health, and consequently embitters and shortens the days of life. There’s no escaping the inspired words “He is cursed of God that angereth his mother” (Ecclus., 3, 18)
“He that afflicted’ his father, and chaseth away his mother, is infamous and unhappy” (Prov., 19, 26).
The Depth and Width and Length of God’s Curse
The Bible, which is the word of God Himself, gives a number of striking examples to illustrate, as by means of eloquent object lessons, the terrible and far-reaching curse of God that pursues the delinquent son or daughter and, respectively, the great blessings that are heaped upon the dutiful and obsequious child.
Shortly after the human race got its second start, as it were, when the waters of the deluge had receded, and after God had blessed Noe and his sons profusely, the patriarch one day fell a victim to drunkenness. When he was in this condition his son Cham used the occasion to dishonor and ridicule his father, whilst the two other sons treated him with touching reverence and thoughtful regard.
Awaking from the wine, and learning what had occurred, Noe cursed Changan, the son of Cham, whilst he blessed Sem and Japheth. And both his curse and his blessing were ratified by God, and affected not only the addressees but also their descendants from generation to generation.
It is observable, that Cham was Noe’s youngest son. In early youth there is the greatest danger of yielding to an impulse of flippancy, freshness and impertinence to the disregard of the honor that is due to parents. Cham no doubt thought he was pert, smart and cute in treating his father as he did.
His cuteness and his pretendedly wise remarks brought down a tremendous curse from God. Nor was there any allowance made for his immaturity and impulsiveness. He had not only the promptings of nature but also the good example of his elder brothers to guide him and to warn him against the misdemeanor he perpetrated.
This was not his first offense. No son treats his father with contumely and ridicule at one bound; but he advances towards this grossness gradually by lighter breaches of honor and respect, in thought, word and deed, towards his parent.
No doubt he had previously spoken to his father disrespectfully and rudely; he had laughed at and made fun of certain things his father said or did; he had given him back talk and contradicted him, or given him no answer at all: they were all preparatory stages leading to the final insult that was visited by the awful curse of his father, which was immediately sanctioned and executed by God.
God Allows No Excuse Against His Rights
Neither did it avail Cham as an excuse or a palliation of his guilt, that his father had exposed himself to discredit and ignominy by his conduct. The curse was inflicted just the same.
No matter how a parent demeans himself, the fact alone that he is a parent entitles him to the honor of his children on all occasions. Whatever he may do or have done cannot erase or cancel his claim upon their respect. As was mentioned above, whoever and however he may be, since God used him to bestow the gift of existence upon them, he will always stand before them as God’s representative, challenging their reverence and gratitude.
This, of course, applies to the mother as well as to the father. For this reason the fourth commandment does not say : “Honor thy father and thy mother as long as they are good and virtuous,” but it simply insists that father and mother must be honored, meaning always and under all conditions, just because they are father and mother, even though any other claim to honor may be wanting in them.
This ought to be borne in mind by children who are tempted to be ashamed of their parents because of their poverty, or lack of good manners, language, culture, or what not. Whatever the parents’ real or imaginary deficiencies may be, these ought to disappear entirely in the eyes of children when contrasted with their claim on the children’s gratefulness and affectionate consideration.
When they themselves get more sense and acquire a truer appraisal of things in general, children will often blush when they remember their weakness in being ashamed of their parents for this reason or for that.
Not All Parents Are Saints
No one says that parents are never bad and vicious; or that their sins should be construed as virtuous deeds, and that children should be proud of, and glory in, their parents’ transgressions. Nothing of the kind.
All that is demanded is, that in spite of whatever failings, sins and vices the parents may be guilty of, the children, in view of their very parenthood, never cease honoring and respecting them.
Far from divulging and parading their parents’ faults before others unnecessarily, or even making them the objects of their own private conversations among themselves, they will do what they can, after the example of Sem and Japheth, to cover and hide as much as possible the weaknesses and excesses of their parents, and to bury them in charitable oblivion.
Nothing draws the blessing of God more forcibly and copiously upon a child than this generous filial behavior. This especially counts for the observation, that bad parents not infrequently have good and prosperous children.
The explanation is simple. Because the children bear with, overlook and cover up the infirmities of their parents, God showers His graces upon them richly and effectively.
Excellent Sermon! Life After Death
What happens after we die? What should we expect? Fr speaks on the teaching of St Thomas Aquinas for this..
Thank you so much for all of your lovely comments on the Advent Giveaway Post! May God bless you…you are in my prayers, please pray for us!
And now…the Advent Giveaway!
Congratulations Marie Kelly! I have sent you an email!
Beginning with the first day of Advent and continuing through the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, these selections from the immortal pen of Fulton J. Sheen encourage readers to explore the essence and promise of the season. Those looking to grow in their prayer life and become more attuned to the joy of Advent and Christmas will find a wonderful guide in this spiritual companion….
You are about to make the season of Advent more meaningful than you ever have! This Advent journal is for busy moms who need a little help making this season special within the home. It will help you stay on track and be consistent with the customs you have decided to incorporate within your four walls. I have broken it down into bite-sized tidbits that, when laid out for you, will be easy to accomplish. As you check each item off you will get a sense of fulfillment knowing you are getting done what is truly important in this expectant season! The other things will get done….but first things first! At midnight, on Christmas Eve, when Baby Jesus arrives, you and your family will look back upon your Advent and sigh with satisfaction, knowing you truly have celebrated with the Church, that you have put your best foot forward in making this a spiritual, enchanting, holy time for all! The first few pages of this book will have a run-down of the special Advent customs and activities that will be on your checklist each day. They are simple, they are doable. I hope this Advent is more special than ever as we walk hand-in-hand making the Liturgy come alive in our homes!