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Chapter 28. Fourth Commandment: Strengthen Your Family • 377

The Christian family is called to be a community of faith, hope,

and love in an environment of prayer. Aided by a number of other vir-

tues, such as prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance, the family

that practices them begins to actualize its spiritual calling as a domestic

church. When a family becomes a school of virtue and a community of

love, it is an image of the loving communion of the Father, Son, and Holy

Spirit. It is then an icon of the Trinity.


Respect for parents derives from a grateful heart toward those who

gave us the gift of life and nourished, loved, and supported us through-

out all our stages of growth. Filial love is shown by genuine obedience

from children to their parents while living in their parents’ home and

by responsible concern of grown children toward their elderly parents.

With your whole heart honor your father; / your mother’s birth

pangs forget not. / Remember, of these parents you were born; /

what can you give them for all they gave you? (Sir 7:27-28)

God offers each member of the family the grace for creating family

solidarity so that it may grow as a domestic church. Parents utilize the

energies of their love, their education, and their experience for their chil-

dren. In this way, they make a positive and essential contribution toward

building a truly human and Christian family. Children respond in love

and should work to reduce rivalries, angers, hurts, and hostilities among

brothers and sisters.

Adult children of elderly parents are asked to care for them with a

generous heart: “Listen to your father who begot you, / and despise not

your mother when she is old” (Prv 23:22). The family remains a major

source of support for the elderly. The elderly who have no adult children

should be helped by the considerate care of others.

While adult children may sometimes experience a strain between

raising their own children and caring for their parents, they must do

what they can to help their parents. Still, not only do adult children help

their parents, but many of the elderly parents also help their adult chil-