School of Saints

We recently had the movie Therese in our local theatre. It was a good little movie, especially if you have a devotion to the Little Flower.

One thing that struck me was the scene where the daughters and their fathers were spending time in the parlor. The Father was playing on the piano and the young sisters were dancing together. I thought it sad that families spent so little time together these days and when they did they rarely had such interaction and delight in each others company. Many go off to entertain themselves… either listening to their music, surfing the net, watching their one televisions etc.

Last night I got to live that scene from Therese. I was at my godson’s home with their family. After the kids got done beating me up (to them I am a jungle gym) dad was playing the piano with one of his sons. I was sitting on the couch right next to the piano watching the kids having a ball. No television, no internet… just playing with each other. We started doing silly tunes and the kids really went bananas. They were dancing and goofing off. The adults were all participating. One of their sons was so excited he could barely control himself. He was running and jumping and dancing with great joy. The littlest one was sitting on the couch right next to me. He was working so hard to move his head to the beat of the music. He would look at me to make sure he was doing it alright. I would move my head to the beat and he would get real excited and go back at it with gusto.

As I was sitting there observing and reflecting on it I was struck with a sense that their guardian angels were taking great delight in it at well.

We ended the night by me leading them in one or two praise and worship songs. I gave them my blessing and they went off to bed.

I talked with their parents later and expressed my joy at it. And they talked about how blessed they were and how I would have to see one of the “shows” the kids put on. Needless to say I am looking forward to it.

Here is a family that by conscious choice has chosen to live family life above many other things. Most of my youth and probably the majority of the couples I have prepared for marriage would view them as a bit strange. Why?

They don’t have cable television.
They are in their early thirties with 4 children and hope to have many more.
They had only one car for the longest period of time.
They don’t go out to the movies or to eat much although Dad and Mom do get a night.
They homeschool.

In other words they don’t have a lot of things that the world thinks you can’t live without.

One thing they do have though is tremendous joy and love in their home.

The family truly is the domestic church and the first seminary. It truly is a school of saints and it is such a joy for this priest to be allowed to be a part of it.

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3 Responses to “School of Saints”

  1. dilexitprior Says:

    I certainly agree with your comment that the family is truly the domestic church and the first seminary. People often here that “vocations start in the family” but don’t actually realize how true this statement is. Not only vocations to the priesthood or religious life, but all vocations find their foundation in the family.

    I know the experience of growing up without a tv, and boy am I glad. I wouldn’t have it any other way and I certainly wont have a tv in my house if I ever get married and have kids of my own.

  2. Big Tex Says:

    Fr. Todd,

    You hit on something rather profound. I am blessed to have married into a family who lives this way. It is how my wife and I aspire to live. It is how many friends of ours have chosen to live. It places Christ at the center of our families. The children know that they are unconditionally loved.

    You say you are filled with joy to witness this type of family, and we are happy to have priests who are joyous about this lifestyle. As the “patriarch” in one of the families, I must say the joy experienced as a parent is every bit as much as the joy you have experienced.

  3. Father Todd Reitmeyer Says:

    Big Tex,
    Thanks for your comments. I am in t-sip land at the moment but still enjoying being back in the promised land itself. It is a good vacation so far. Visiting homes is probably one of the many great joys of day to day ministry.

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