St. Cyril of Jerusalem tells us that honoring our parents is the first virtue of a Christian. Whatever we do for our parents, we can never repay them for their gift of life to us.
But while we honor our heavenly Father, let us also honor the fathers of our flesh. For when our fathers on earth are of a contrary mind to our Father in heaven, then we must obey Christ’s word. But when they do not stand in the way of godliness, if we are ever carried away by ingratitude and hold them in contempt, forgetting their benefits to us, then the Scripture will be in effect that says, “Whoever curses his father or mother shall be put to death.”
For us Christians, the first virtue of godliness is to honor our parents—to pay back the troubles of those who bore us, and to give them whatever comforts we can with all our strength. For if we repaid them as much as possible, we could still never pay them back for their gift of life. Then they will enjoy the comfort we provide, and may confirm those blessings to us that Jacob the supplanter took with his shrewdness. And then won’t our Father in heaven accept our good intentions, and judge us worthy to “shine like the sun in the Kingdom of our Father” (Matthew 13:43)?
–St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lecture 7, 15-16
IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
Have I given the honor God wants me to give to my own parents?
Is there anything lacking in my attention—even a timely phone call?
Father, form me in the likeness of your Son, and deepen his life in me, so that I may honor my parents as he honors you.
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