5 Things That Will Devastate Your Family If You Miss Them!

If 85% of our kids were being drugged, kidnapped and murdered, parents would rise up to battle the Goliath that dared consume their offspring. Yet, spiritually, this slaughter is upon us!

Today, 85% of Catholic children abandon their faith by age 22! The Church is bleeding out.

Our Catholic Faith is the path to Heaven. It is the way to divine intimacy, freedom, and abundant life.

If our children reject this life of grace, they become… prey… easily seduced by worldly pleasures, enslaved by passions, and then suffocated by sin.

  • He who does not experience spiritual joy necessarily becomes addicted to carnal pleasure! -St Augustine

Like King Théoden in Lord of the Rings, so many parents do not quickly and clearly see the dangers before them.

The truth is, we are at war. Be sober and vigilant. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith.” -1 Peter 5:8-9 Unless we parents live, fight for, and steadfastly teach the Catholic Faith in the heart of our home, it will not take root in the heart of our children. So many don’t realize how crucial it is to obey God’s command in the second part of the greatest commandment, “You shall diligently teach your children the Faith, at home.” -cf Deu 6:7. “Parents role as educators in the Faith is so decisive that scarcely anything can compensate for their failure in it. “-cf Familiaris Consortio 36

It was not until Théoden broke free from the spell, that he was able to summon his forces to protect his people and combat the enemy invading his lands. Similarly, as parents, we must rally our forces to battle against sin and selfishness, and battle for the true Faith and love.

I started the Strong Catholic Dad ministry to mobilize and equip dads to lead in this battle to build divine and family intimacy and pass on the Faith. Statistically, dads’ influence is massively pivotal to the faith of kids. If a dad practices the faith and has a warm relationship with his kids, 76% to 95% of them will follow in his footsteps! We created an effective program for families to use the engaging viral videos that their kids clamored for. Even though the at-home, online program worked super well for some, most saw it as ‘optional’ and turned away saying, “We’re too busy!” And 85% of Catholic kids are still rejecting the Faith by age 22, while most parents still continue to disobey God’s command to teach the Faith at home, every week.

Over time, I began to see 5 things that devastate families in this battle, if parents miss them. Frankly, I missed them, and I saw how their absence ravaged families. Just as when King David went against Goliath, carefully choosing 5 stones, I offer you these 5 weapons for your battle, and how I discovered them.

 

5 Things That Devastate Families If You Miss them
1-The Decisive Influence of Mom

While rightly touting the influence of a strong Catholic dad, I missed the decisive influence of mom. As I struggled to keep dads motivated to teach their kids weekly, I finally called out to God in frustration, and this conversation occurred in my heart:

“Lord, I can’t get dads to follow through with teaching their kids the faith at home!”
“Michael, how did Satan take down Adam?”
“He went through the woman, Eve.”
“That’s right. And how did I restore mankind?”
“The woman, Lord. You went through Mary.”
“That’s right. Michael, how are dads going to step up unless joined by their wives?”

Then I recalled the many moms who said, “I was glad my husband finally stepped up and taught the Faith. I figured it was his time with the kids, so I took a break.” Mom stepping back from this crucial joint duty often torpedoed the effort. In fact, research identifies the single most influential factor in a dad stepping up to lead his family… the warm support of his wife. Her insight and her encouragement are decisively potent. She is the heart of the family. Without the heart pumping her love and genius into the effort to build divine and family intimacy and pass on the Faith, the head falters. “A friend, a companion…a wife with her husband is better than both!” -Sirach 40:23

Spiritually, the woman chosen as the mother of God and of every Christian will also decisively influence your family…if you let her. For those of you who haven’t entrusted yourselves to her through Marian Consecration, you’re seriously missing out! God has ordained powerful protection and particular graces for your family through her. I implore you, take up Marian Consecration! It changed my life and has transformed the lives of saints and sinners through the ages.

What I also missed was what God reveals about all mothers through Mary, the new Eve, who shows the heights to which God raises moms. He uniquely equips all mothers with “an influence, an effect and a power to… aid humanity in not falling!”-Mulieris Dignitatem 1 The role given to Eve back in Genesis is translated in English as ‘help mate.’ That is a lame translation of the Hebrew ‘Ezer Kenegdo.’ Ezer is translated elsewhere as ‘the power of God,’ and Kenegdo is ‘counterpart.’ So, I believe a better translation for a wife’s role would be ‘she who fights along side her husband wielding God’s power.’ I imagine a couple positioned back to back, whispering in each other’s ear, protecting their beloved’s blind side, as they fight against selfishness and lies, and for intimacy and truth. As a father of 10, married 33 years, I have grown in astonishment of my wife’s inner beauty, insightful perception, and her transformative effect on my character and that of our children. Many husbands have recounted the same regarding their wives. We are captivated.

I have given primacy of place here to the influence of moms and our bond with God’s mother. “If victory comes it will be brought by Mary. Christ will conquer through her, because He wants the Church’s victories now and in the future to be linked to her.” -Saint John Paul II  God infinitely ennobled humanity when He chose the womb of the Blessed Virgin as the bridal chamber to marry divine nature to human nature.

  • I am convinced that the more we imitate God by reviving awe and reverence for the dignity of women and the sublimity of motherhood, the swifter God’s nature will suffuse our families and transform the world.

By the way, in the Lord of the Rings, it was the woman, Éowyn, who conquered the Witch-king.

2-Power & Influence of Parish Priests

After 5 years of ministry, I cried out to God one night as I went to sleep,

“I can’t do this! I can’t get parents to teach the faith at home. They don’t believe they need to. And nobody in authority requires it, Lord!”

I was awakened at 2 a.m. to the reproving voice of God reverberating in my heart,

“Michael, I require it. Am I not authority enough for you?”

Startled, I did not respond for several minutes. Slowly, I was enveloped by a deepening conviction about just how crucial it is for parents to build family and divine intimacy at home. God made clear this was His Heart’s desire. I spoke sheepishly,

“Lord, You are authority enough. I just don’t know what to do next.”

I heard within me,

“Go to My sons (My priests). They have My authority and influence. Tell them to exhort parents from the pulpit to follow My command to teach their kids the Faith at home. I hold My priests responsible for their spiritual children who are parents.”

I missed the power of the priesthood in their crucial role as spiritual fathers leading our families to truth and union with God. Christ invested His priests with the keys of the Kingdom and told them, “He who hears you, hears Me. He who rejects you, rejects Me.” Unless we instill reverence for our priests, our children will reject their authority, reject ours, and and cast themselves headlong onto the broad path to perdition.

3-The Sure Sign You’re on the Right Track: The Way is Hard!

How many families give up and turn away because they misinterpret what is happening to them? To practice and teach the Faith at home is… hard, a battle. It’s “the final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan, because the sanctity of Marriage and the Family is the decisive issue!”- Sr Lucia of Fatima.

While promoting the Family Conquest formation program, I made the mistake of overly emphasizing the sweeter part of it (the super-engaging Youtube videos and the growth in intimacy from the Q & A’s), and when it got hard and tiresome, families quit. I failed to alert them to the power and paradox of the cross, that those who embrace God’s Word surely bear fruit, but only through perseverance! -Luke 8:15

Christ prepared us: “The way is hard and the gate narrow that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Why? Because most people fail to realize that the difficulties in carrying out God’s Will are actually a sure sign, a confirmation that they are on the right path, which is a battleground! There is no doubt of God’s Will here, since the second part of the greatest commandment states clearly “You shall diligently teach your children (the Faith) at home, whether you are busy or at rest.” And the Catechism affirms, ‘Parents who do not teach their kids the faith disobey our Heavenly Father’s will and break God’s law.’-cf CCC 2222 So, if you are striving to teach and things go awry, Rejoice! That’s the signpost you are on the right and fruitful path. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him from them all.”-Ps 34:19

Even though following Christ is hard, He promises: “My yoke is easy and My burden light.” Why? Because intimacy and joy eventually come from obeying Him and surpass everything the world offers! Families experience a deeper peace when they know they have fulfilled their Heavenly Father’s Will and law by practicing the Faith and teaching it to their kids at home. Parents get to relish the hard-fought-for fruits of their children’s growing freedom from sin and selfishness, and freedom for knowing, loving and serving God and others, as well as one day forming their own families as intimate communities of life, love and truth. That’s the sweetest part, because it is a sharing in the delight of God’s own Fatherhood!

4-The Multiplying , Nuclear Power of Our ‘Yes’, United to the Eucharist

In a world overrun by so much evil and corruption, it is hard to have faith that our ‘yes’ to God will really make any difference. Knowing that challenge to faith, Satan’s tactic is discouragement. Don’t fall for it! It devastates your family. Yet, God allows the temptation, because if we combat it with the ‘shield of faith that extinguishes Satan’s fiery darts of doubt’ -cf Eph 6:16, it will generate a massive outpouring of grace for us, our family and the world.

Over the years, I have felt demoralized at seeing so much sin, divorce and abandonment of the faith. This splitting away from God and His sure path is indeed devastating, like the explosive force released from an atom when its nucleus is cleaved in two. Yet, in the natural order, far more powerful than nuclear fission (which is an unnatural process) is nuclear fusion, where two atoms bind together becoming one and emitting superabundant light, heat, and almost no radioactivity! God gave us the sun, fueled by nuclear fusion, as a blazing sign pointing to the potency of our communion with His Divinity hidden in the Eucharist. The first fulfillment of that sign was the ‘yes’ of the Virgin Mary which initiated the fusion of human nature with the Divine nature, the supersubstantial remedy infinitely more powerful than the devastation of sin!

What I failed to see is that every ‘yes’ to God, my yes, your ‘yes’, raises the world! This a spiritual truth! It’s true because we are made in God’s image, and God is so intimately united within Himself that He is three Divine persons who are one God. So, made in His image and likeness, we are all individual persons, yet one people – God’s children. That inner connection of humanity within itself is why Adam’s sin affects all humanity, why Christ’s salvation at one moment in time is available to everyone, for all times, and why our ‘yes’ to God now, our growth in intimacy with God, our children’s growing intimacy with Him, not only raises ourselves, but raises the whole of humanity!

  • The absolute best thing we can to do to protect and upbuild ourselves, our families, and the whole world right now is to grow our intimacy and our family’s intimacy with God!

There is no force more powerful in the universe and nothing more effective against every sorrow and suffering than God’s love! And God’s love and healing is unleashed in the world more and more each moment through hearts knowing, loving and serving Him! Our ‘yes’, our children’s ‘yes’ to intimacy with God, raises the whole world!!

In the Old testament, Jonah’s reluctant ‘yes’ to obey God ultimately saved the entire city of Nineveh, which took 3 days to walk through. God promised the same multiplying effect of ‘the few’ saving the many at Sodom and Gomorrah. Archaeologists estimate at least 300,000 lived in those cities, which could’ve been spared if only 10 righteous people were found. That’s a ratio of 1 faithful person saving 30,000! Astonishing!

Today, Christ offers humanity a greater multiplying effect through the little ‘yes’ of the few willing to enter into communion and intimacy with Him. He poured out His Heart to St. Faustina:

“My Heart overflows with mercy for souls, especially sinners. I dwell in the tabernacle as King of Mercy. I desire to bestow My graces upon souls, but they do not want to accept them. You, at least, come to Me as often as possible and take these graces they do not want to accept. In this way, you console My Heart. Oh, My Heart drinks only of the ingratitude and forgetfulness of souls living in the world. They have time for everything, but they have no time to come to Me for graces.

So, I turn to you, will you also fail to understand the love of My Heart? I do not find complete surrender to My love. So many reservations, so much distrust, so much caution. To comfort you, let Me tell you that there are souls living in the world who love Me dearly. I dwell in their hearts with delight. But they are few. They are a defense for the world before the justice of the Heavenly Father and a means of obtaining mercy for the world. The love and sacrifice of these souls sustain the world in existence.

Stunning. God offers to do so much with so little. As a further echo of this multiplying power of our little ‘yes’ united to the Eucharist, I just read a passage by a Sister of Children of Mary in the fantastic book “The Ceaseless Act of Love: I Will Think of Everything, You, Think Only of Loving Me”:

“Receiving Jesus with love in Holy Communion, going to adoration, and practicing the continuous act of love will make our prayers powerful, and much grace will go out into the whole world. The terrible darkness will decrease, and the light of Love will grow stronger and stronger. This light will be the grace that will free innumerable souls from Satan’s grasp.”

5-Be Urgent, Before It’s Too Late!

Today, we are urgent about the wrong things. For years, I was urgent about finances, education and physical health. Yet Christ challenges, “There is only one thing necessary. Choose the better part. Seek first My kingdom, and all these things will be added unto you.”  Of course, physical poverty, ignorance and sickness are debilitating hardships, but far more devastating is spiritual poverty, spiritual ignorance and spiritual illness which lead to eternal tragedy. If I were to have honestly reviewed my daily schedule early in family life, it would have revealed that I put spiritual health second. I fell for the lie that we had plenty of time. I subconsciously figured I would grow spiritually later, and I would directly teach my kids the Faith when they got older. But, God insists that parents “be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and encourage, be unfailing in patience and in teaching.” -2 Tim 4:2

Thanks to my wife’s prompting and God’s grace, 11 years into our marriage, I reordered my priorities. After seeing the good fruit, I started exhorting other parents to do the same. What breaks my heart is how many children still rejected the Faith and ruined their lives, because their parents never got around to directly teaching the Faith at home, weekly. Scripture warns:

  • God said, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you!’ -Lk 12:20

The good news is that parents do have time, just not much. According to one study, 85% of people who end up choosing faith in God decide to do so between the ages of 4-14. From 15-30, another 10% make their decision. After 30, only 4%. Clearly, people are most receptive during their earliest years – ‘As the twig is bent, so grows the branch.’

Hope is the theological virtue whereby “we desire the kingdom of Heaven and eternal life as our happiness.” -CCC 1817 If it is not nurtured in children early, they will seek their happiness elsewhere… and may never return. Unfortunately, the devastating results of building their life on sand instead of rock (Christ & His Church) is often not seen by parents until, “the rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely destroyed.” -Mt 7:27

Shockingly, God warns parents who have not “hearkened to His voice” and taught their children to do the same, “Your children shall suffer for your faithlessness and you shall die in the wilderness.”Numbers 14: 22,33

God’s message is urgent. If we act this week to obey God’s command to teach our kids the Faith at home, we can rest in His promise:

  • Everyone who listens to these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew, but the house did not collapse!- Mt 7:24-25

Family Conquest’s 15-Minute Weekly Conquests: Free, Fun, Inspiring

As a young dad, I was lost. How could I teach my kids the Catholic Faith at home? Besides eating together, nothing we did allowed everyone to participate and enjoy at his own level. I finally discovered viral videos. With some forethought, I selected short videos to grab everyone’s attention and then use them as a metaphor, a parable to teach a deeper meaning and unveil some captivating truth about God. IT WORKED GREAT! All creation is bursting with God’s spectacular wonders, and parent-led faith conquests at home allow Him to relish in revealing His mysteries to little ones!

This effort has become the Family Conquest program of 15-minute weekly conquests, which is a free, fun, and inspiring way for families to obey God’s command to teach the Faith at home. It started as a paid subscription program. Today, Family Conquest is supported by donations, especially from parents who have witnessed the devastation and become convinced of the urgency for parents to battle for and build intimacy with God and family, before it is too late.

If you aren’t fulfilling God’s command to teach your kids the Catholic Faith weekly, at home, you can do this easily. Please share it with your pastor and friends. Only in Heaven will we see the colossal impact on our kids, our society, and the world, from those families who chose blessing:

  • This day I have set before you life and death, blessing & curse; therefore choose life by loving God, obeying His voice, and clinging to Him. -Deu 30:19-20

DO YOUR 15-MINUTE FAMILY CONQUEST THIS WEEK BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE

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