The Importance of Our Custom of Altar Boys: "Husbands Love Your Wives, As Christ Loves His Church"
Our parish families find themselves in the frustrating situation of being without pastors. Too often today parish churches are being closed. This is a call to come together, as the Apostles did after Pentecost, in prayer with our Blessed Mother. We will rise to the challenges that this loss brings—and it is a loss, for the ordinary life of Christians is to have a home parish in which to worship with their spiritual father, the pastor. The Holy Spirit will enable us to rise to the challenges if we ask Him.
We must ask The Holy Spirit to open our hearts to His answers. This frustrating situation calls for our conversion. It asks us to examine the road we have taken for decades as a parish and as a Church that led us to have such few spiritual fathers, so few priests. And not just sacramental priests, but so few fathers in the home, such challenges to motherhood, such neglect of children and their souls.
There is not enough time here to examine all of the cultural mistakes we have made that led us to have fewer and fewer priests, and ultimately fewer and fewer Christians.
But we can look at one part of the bad culture, the bad way of life, we have been living, that has led to our vocational breakdown.
We men have rejected the way of life for which we were created by Our Father, to which we are called by Our Lord Jesus Christ.
When fathers step forward and suffer for their families, when men have the courage to be keep faith, when men live their God-given vocation to be fathers and husbands, servants of their brides and children, the culture is strong. The Church is strong.
When bishops, priests step forward and are strong leaders, who fast, suffer, do penance for their children, who protect their bride, and teach their children to love their Mother, the culture is strong, and the Mother, the Church is strong. Spiritual Fathers, Spiritual Husbands do this by fasting, penance, prayer, and by the love-poetry that is reverent, loving liturgy.
A zealous team of altar boys, with a strong esprit de corps is one of the fundamental ways to rebuild our parish, and return our Church from its current vocational breakdown.
It teaches our boys and young men the discipline of Spiritual Fatherhood. It is the natural capstone of such work as the boy-scouts or sportsmanship. These cultivate the good natural husbandry in young men. In serving Holy Mass, our young men take these natural virtues and grow them through the discipline of God’s service into spiritual husbandry, into Christ-like manhood.
In serving Holy Mass, our boys learn humility, teamwork, and discipline, as in any good work. But in proximity to the sacred mysteries, and hopefully in proximity to a devout priest, they learn that Christ must be at the heart of their manhood. That He is the Lord, their God. They learn that they must love God with their whole heart, their whole mind, their entire soul, and all their strength. They learn that the greatest enemy they must convert is their own pride. In the liturgy, they learn the love-poetry of their Mother, the Church, and their greatest hopes become united with her. God willing, they become priests, to fast, and pray for their family the Church. Or, God willing, they bring the women with whom they fall in love to their Mother, the Church, to ask her to bless their new wives and mothers and children with the love and power of Her sacraments and worship.
To plant the seeds for a time when all Christian vocations are strong again we must maintain such traditions as men serving at the altar. We must bring our men into proximity to the service of the altar so they can learnto suffer and to lead like Christ. We cannot abandon this time-tested way. It will bear fruit not only in vocations, so that, God willing, we will one day never lack for pastors; it will bear fruit in the vocations of all families, as our boys are raised up to become spiritual heads of domestic churches. Glory Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto