July 30, 2005
vol 16, no. 211

Teach the Children

          Editor's Note: We have combined Tim Duff's inspirational short piece with the short primer of what Traditional Catholics can teach their children this summer and throughout the year. The latter was found in the vestibule of Tim's traditional church and, in concert with Father James Wathen's essay on wholehearted love today, gives a practical how-to manual for readers everywhere for putting virtue into practice. Tim's piece, which we have placed here instead of his regular Fiat Voluntas Dei series because of its brevity, is an excellent illustration of how we should look at God in all humility and gratefulness as His servants - as holy slaves of Jesus and Mary.

    Why Me?
    Timothy A. Duff

        Why me, O Lord? Why hast Thou been so good to me, while I have been such an ungrateful wretch?

        I have questioned Thy most holy Will, and Thou hast mercifully led me through the shadows of death.

        I have had regrets for past mistakes, and Thou hast comforted me.

        I have scrutinized thy judgments, and still Thou hast shown me, little by little, Thy most wondrous Providence in my life.

        Never again will I question, regret, or scrutinize Thy holy Will!

        In the contest between Thy goodness and my wretchedness, before the tribunal of Thy mercy, I plead no contest. I say with Napoleon, "Thou hast conquered, O Galilean, Thou hast conquered!" O grant that Thou mayest always triumph over me!

        O wretched soul, how canst thou love and thank thy God for all He has done for thee? Were it not for my ardent desire to love and support my dear wife and children, whose prayers on my behalf Thou hast heard and for whose sake Thou hast been merciful to me, I would have but one desire - to die, to be free from this earthly prison of my body, that I may love Thee as perfectly as I can, to thank Thee as ardently as Thou deservest, and never more offend Thee in eternity.

        May the magnificent and loving Providence of our heavenly Father be trusted on earth and praised in Heaven by all creatures henceforth now and forever.

What We Can All Teach Our Children during Summer and the rest of the year as well: *


  • Together with the family, attend Holy Mass at least one day a week other than Sunday if the Traditional Latin Mass is available in your vicinity.
  • Teach your child how to follow the Proper of the Mass and to fully understand the Ordinary of the Mass. If there is not a daily Traditional Mass near you, gather at home and pray from the missal (or the Propers available on The Daily Catholic - Ordinary of the Holy Mass and Propers of the Traditional Calendar.)
  • Make a special, private visit to a Traditional Chapel outside of Holy Mass time if the Blessed Sacrament is present. Jesus is often forgotten for days during the summer. If one cannot make a visit, set aside time to pray at home.


  • Read the saint of the day together.
  • Erect a special family shrine with a picture or statues of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts and pray the rosary there each day as a family - for, as Father Patrick Peyton, the "Rosary Priest" always said, "the family that prays together, stays together."
  • Celebrate the special feasts of Our Lord and Our Lady with a special dessert and prayer, or a visit to the Blessed Sacrament.
  • Say morning and evening prayers together.
  • Read to the children from a spiritual book (such as approved Apparitions, or the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart by Father Francis Larkin, SS.CC) If you have not had your home enthroned to the Sacred Heart, definitely read this book and ask your Traditional priest to enthrone your home with the children taking an active role in the preparation for this wonderful event.
  • Practice emulating the Virtues:

      A. Theological:

        1. Faith
        2. Hope
        3. Charity

      B. Moral Virtues:

        1. Religion - Practice of the Faith
        2. Prudence
        3. Justice
        4. Fortitude
        5. Temperance
        6. Filial piety
        7. Obedience
        8. Veracity
        9. Patience

      C. Virtues to guard against the Seven Deadly Sins

        1. Humility as opposed to the sin of pride
        2. Liberality as opposed to the sin of covetousness, greed or avarice
        3. Chastity as opposed to the sin of lust
        4. Meekness as opposed to the sin of anger
        5. Abstinence as opposed to the sin of gluttony
        6. Zeal and Diligence as opposed to the sin of sloth
        7. Brotherly Love as opposed to the sin of envy.

  • Pray for the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Ghost:

        1. Wisdom
        2. Understanding
        3. Counsel
        4. Fortitude
        5. Knowledge
        6. Piety
        7. Fear of the Lord


        1. Charity
        2. Joy
        3. Peace
        4. Patience
        5. Benignity
        6. Goodness
        7. Long-suffering
        8. Mildness
        9. Faith
        10. Modesty
        11. Continency
        12. Chastity


  • To feed the hungry - Instill on the children the importance of helping others out of love for neighbor for God's sake, not humanistic reasons. Rather than children giving money to the poor,encourage them to save their money for a gift certificate at a local restaurant or fast food venue where they can present to someone who is in need of a meal the gift certificate rather than money. This assures the hungry person will use it for food.
  • To give drink to the thirsty - Teach the children to share and to be generous to others. Have them volunteer to pour drinks of cold water for neighbors out in their yard working as a Christ-like gesture.
  • To clothe the naked - Encourage the children to collect their old clothes or those they have grown out of and give them to a worthy charity where they can be provided to homeless and others in need which you can direct and let the children take the initiative to follow through.
  • To visit the imprisoned - While this is not always a good idea for children to visit prisoners, in their teens a supervised visit to a prison can be a great deterrent in putting the Fear of the Lord into them. They could make rosaries or collect spiritual reading to send to prisoners.
  • To shelter the homeless - Whenever your children see a homeless person, teach them to automatically say a silent prayer for that person and to see in that person Jesus Himself so that they do not build up prejudices against the less fortunate. Remind your children to always appreciate what they do have and to give God thanks for life itself.
  • To visit the sick - Decide upon a day of the week in which to visit the sick such as a rest home where the older folks love to see children. Encourage them to bring a hand-made gift, card, or a card with their pledge of prayer for several of the senior citizens.
  • To bury the dead - Encourage children to bring flowers to the cemetery and pray for the dead. Teach them the proper respect for the dead and why it is so important to foster goodness on this earth by obeying God's Commandments, observing the two greatest commandments, and live their Catholic Faith fully so that they can get to Heaven.


  • To admonish the sinner Teach them right from wrong and teach them to obey authority, but always gaging that authority by reliable parents and reliable Traditional priests. Teach them to be charitable, but firm when their peers are doing wrong, to remind their friends that Jesus doesn't like what they are doing because it offends Him. It's a good opportunity to talk with them about why Jesus died for us.
  • To instruct the ignorant One of the best ways to instill in the children the importance of missionary work as it was before Vatican II is the "pagan babies" fund where kids saved their pennies to contribute to missionary causes. For older children, take time to talk about the Faith so they can express it and eventually learn apologetics so that they can one day teach the Faith to others.
  • To counsel the doubtful Surely your children have friends who don't have strong faith. Let your kids talk to them about Jesus and Mary, to tell them why going to Holy Mass is so special and the importance of Sacred Scripture and the lives of the saints. If your own kids have doubts, sit down and talk over the points they don't understand with them.
  • To comfort the sorrowful If there are any in the parish who are sick or if someone passes away, ask your children to make up prayer cards to send to them and encourage them to convey in their sympathy that God will take care of everything.
  • To bear wrongs patiently This is an important work to teach your children not to fly off the handle or complain "it's not fair." Remind them of the Sermon on the mount and how much Jesus was wronged or the saints and what Jesus said that if they persecuted Him, how much more we will be persecuted. Here is an excellent opportunity to instill in them the belief that Heaven is worth whatever hardships we encounter on this earth.
  • To forgive all injuries How often do we hold grudges that are evident to our children? We should be careful of the example we show and to instill in our children to always forgive as Jesus commands. They may not be able to forget the injury, but they must forgive it and the persons doing the injuring. This can be turned into children getting in the habit of praying for those who hurt others.
  • To pray for the living and the dead One way to root out selfishness is for the children to pray for others and to remind them how important it is to pray for the souls in Purgatory for they need our prayers and when they get to Heaven, they can interceded for us if we helped them achieve everlasting life through our prayers.


    Teach your children the home arts and survival skills, solid work ethics. One problem today is many children are so spoiled that they do not know what hard work is and, consequently, are not conditioned to fight temptation. Teach them how to cook, how to organize a cupboard, a desk, their room. Teach them how to sew, how to budget, how to grocery shop, how to wash a car, teach them how to fix a car if they are mechanically inclined. Show them how to put aside 10% of their earnings - from a job or allowance - to tithe 10% toward the Traditional Chapel the family attends or a Traditional Catholic cause. Talk often about the Faith and don't be afraid to discuss with them why the family can only attend the Traditional Latin Mass. Instill in them choices of career opportunities and role models who will prompt them to hold strong moral values despite the fact the great majority will not. Teach them how much God loves and rewards those who are on guard against temptation and willfully abstain from sex outside of marriage by practicing self-discipline. Remind them to stay busy and productive for the addage is true: Idleness is the devil's workshop and the summer is full of idle and idol time!


    Teach your family the reasons TV or the internet when unsupervised can be harmful to your soul, to your education and to your mental health.
      1. TV fosters a short attention span and selective listening.
      2. TV brings a philosophy of materialism, impurity, disobedience and other vices into your home, all steeped in selfishness.
      3. TV is psychologically addictive.
      4. TV is a passive activity and discourages creative play.
      5. TV overpowers and desensitizes a child's sense of sympathy and distorts reality and problem-solving and it encourages rebellion against Jesus and His Church.
      6. TV encourages deceptive thinking. This is true by illustrating a false sense of security, the easy life and sin as good. From the news to commercials to programming, a parent has to be as vigilant as possible and instill in your children the automatic thought "Would the Holy Family sit down with me and watch this?" If, in all honesty, you and your children think so, there would be less harm in watching it. If you have doubts, turn the station or better yet, turn it off and talk with one another.


    "Six books in the summer and your child won't be dumber" or one book every two months during the school year in addition to their regular studies. Studies show that a child's IQ is significantly lower by summer vacation's end because they're out of the routine of studying - that is unless they have read at least six books during the summer. Reading sharpens most of the skills so carefully taught during the school year. Amazingly, those children tested who read at least six books during the summer months actually had an increased I.Q. by the beginning of September! Plan a daily "read aloud time" for the younger ones for the more senses used, the better retention, or sign them up for a summer reading program at your local library. But be careful and screen the curriculum for any government-funded program or public non-profit can be tainted with the dangerous possibility that they are teaching tolerance and diversity so subtly, two buzzwords of the pro-abortion sodomite agenda so prevalent in these programs today.

    More important, if you can afford the time, is to continue to teach your children all year by homeschooling them. As Pope Leo XIII, Pope St. Pius X and Pope Pius XII all taught, the parents are the most important and essential teachers of their offspring. Parents have a duty to ensure the spiritual welfare of their children first, then the temporal welfare. That is a priority not held in most schools including so called 'Catholic' schools today. If there is a Traditional Catholic school by all means send them, but if such is not available, then by all means do all in your power to homeschool your children to keep their young minds from the pollution of the world. And at all times pray and, as Jesus says, "Suffer the little children to come to Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God" (Mark 10: 14).

        * Parts of this were taken from the books, My Catholic Faith by Bishop Louis LaRavoire Morrow and The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease available in your local library. Both are 'must reads' for conscientious Catholic parents.

    July 30, 2005
    vol 16, no. 211