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Sunday, 5 October 2014

The Formation of Children

I am having the privilege of staying with a trad family with nine children. I cannot tell you what a joy this is, to be around excellent parents who take the responsibility of raising their children Catholic most seriously. These parents are forming saints.

One of the books in this house is Forty Dreams of St. John Bosco. I would like to get this book at some time, but as I am traveling, I shall not beg for it now. As readers know, one of St. John's most terrifying dreams has been posted and re-posted on this blog several times.

But, today, I want to highlight a section on mortification for children, as this is something which most parents never consider.

I shall outline what the great saint shared. First of all, mortifications for children are part of the discipline of learning to be a saint. In one of his dreams, St. John Bosco was told that if St. Aloysius had not done penance, he would have fallen into mortal sin.

The messengers in this dream said that children who did penance by embracing the cross would not lose their innocence. This messenger listed several mortifications a child must learn. These are:

1) Mortification of overcoming weariness in prayer;
2) Mortification of the intellect through obedience to superiors;
3) Mortification of always telling the truth so that one loves one's soul and become holy;
4) Mortification of the heart, focusing on holiness and not being distracted by useless things;
5) Mortification against seeking human respect;
6) Mortification of the senses, including the eyes, ears, mouth (eating and drinking) and speech;
7) Mortification daily concerning little things, like not seeking to be cold when one is hot, or hot, when one is cold.

How many parents teach such penances to their children in order to help them avoid sin and grow in the virtues?

If you are raising children, especially boys, I highly recommend this book.