We shall here briefly consider the importance of
fidelity to the duties of our state, which vary
according to our position. The duties of one who
governs, for example, are very different from those
of one in subjection; the duties of a religious are
very different from those of the father of a family.
According to the Apostle, those who govern must be
vigilant in labor and in all things. (Cf. 2Tim. 4:5).
This watchfulness is generally proportioned to the
value of the object and to the danger which surrounds
it. Now, there is nothing of greater value, and at
the same time nothing more exposed to danger, than a
soul. Consequently nothing requires greater vigilance
than the care which must be bestowed by one who is
charged with so important a trust.
The principal duty of a subordinate is to behold God
in his superiors and to pay them prompt and entire
obedience. If a monarch order me to obey his
minister, do I not obey the monarch by obeying the
minister? In like manner, when God orders me to obey
my superiors do I not obey Him by submitting to them?
This is the teaching of St. Paul: "Servants, be
obedient to them that are your lords, as to Christ."
There are three degrees in this
virtue. The first consists in simply doing what we
are commanded, the second in doing it willingly, and
the third in submitting our judgment to that of our
superiors by "bringing into captivity our
understanding unto the obedience of Christ." (2Cor.
10:5). Many fulfill the commands of a superior, but
with reluctance, Others obey, but murmur and
disapprove the command. Others, in fine, cheerfully
obey and heartily approve whatever order they
Endeavor that such may be your obedience,
bearing in mind the words of Our Saviour: "He that
heareth you heareth me, and he that despiseth you
despiseth me." (Lk. 10:16). Refrain from all
murmuring against superiors, that you may not deserve
the reproach addressed by Moses to the Israelites:
"Your murmuring is not against us, but against the
Lord." (Exod. 16:8). Beware of despising those in
authority, lest God should say to them, as He did to
Samuel: "They have not rejected thee, but me, that I
should not reign over them." (1Kg. 8:7). Serve them
with truth and sincerity, that you may never hear the
terrible words of the Apostle: "Thou hast not lied to
men, but to God" (Acts 5:4), and that you may never
incur the malediction which fell upon Ananias and
Saphira for their duplicity.
Let married women
faithfully acquit themselves of the duties of their
household, discharging all their obligations to their
husband and children, that they may thus be free to
attend to practices of piety without neglecting what
they owe their family. That would be a worthless
devotion which would occupy the time which should be
given to domestic affairs.
Let fathers of families
reflect upon the terrible affliction which the high
priest Heli drew upon himself by neglecting to
chastise his children. Sudden death came upon himself
and his sons, and the priesthood was withdrawn from
his family forever. (Cf. 1Kg. 4). As the sins of
children are to a certain degree attributable to
parents, the perdition of a child not infrequently
involves the condemnation of the parents. How can he
be called a true father who, having begotten his son
for this world, fails to train him for the kingdom of
Heaven? Therefore, advise and correct your children.
Guard them from evil associates. Give them wise and
virtuous masters. Teach them to love virtue, and let
them, like Tobias, be inspired from their infancy
with the fear of God. (Cf. Tob. 2:13).
gratify their whims, but curb their wills that they
may become truly submissive. Be no less solicitous in
providing for their spiritual than their corporal
wants; for it is unreasonable to suppose that the
duty of parents extends no further than that of birds
and beasts, whose only care is to feed and nourish
their young. Fulfill the duties of a father in a
manner becoming a Christian, a true servant of God,
and thus you will bring up your children heirs to
Heaven, and not slaves of Hell.
Heads of families
with servants to govern should bear in mind these
words of the Apostle: "If any man have not care of
his own, and especially of those of his house, he
hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel."
(1Tim. 5:8). The members of their household form the
sheep of the flock which has been confided to them,
and for which they must one day render an account.
Precious are they in the sight of the Lord, because
they have been redeemed by the Passion of His Divine
Son, through whose Blood every human being has
received a nobility higher than all the honors of
A good master, therefore, will carefully
endeavor to abolish among his servants all public
vices, such as quarreling, gambling, swearing, and
especially sins of impurity. He will sec that they
are instructed in the principles of their faith, and
that they are enabled to observe the commandments of
God and of the Church, particularly the precepts to
hear Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation, and
to keep the fasts and abstinence prescribed by the
Church, unless they are lawfully dispensed or