As a husband and father of two sons, it is very important if not almost instinctive of me to protect that family unit right? If you are a father or mother you would agree that this is the case I am sure.
This includes cutting ties with the world and many people of the world too. Of course it is important to meet and greet society and it is healthy but only when done in small doses. The problem I am having at the moment is eradicating bad influence, not just from outsiders, but from family members also. I am no better than any of my family but I have had to reprimand them so to speak and ask them to stay away. I know it sounds almost cultish to some of you but the vocation I have to bring my sons up catholic is not something that can be taken lightly. There is no compromise and very often people are offended by my abrupt way of doing this and blunt way of laying it on the table.
The terms ” that’s not very Christian of you to tell us to stay away ” are ones I am often met with and ” Jesus ate with sinners, some Christian you are” is another line I am well used to also. However, one of the churches most amazing saints, St.Thomas Aquinas was someone I thought about during this ordeal I was having. When his family heard he wanted to be a monk, they thought he was crazy. So they locked him in a tower in a dark cell until he “came to his senses”. They would also send him temptations and once sent prostitute to his cell and St.Thomas ran out of the dark at her waving a flaming torch and near frightened her to death and chase her out of the cell. something similar happened me also with my brother and his wife. He was waiting for a moment in which he could admit me to a mental hospital because of my sudden conversion to Christianity from my secular ways.
One day he chipped away at me for quite some time, insulting religion and the pope also. I lost the head and picked him up from the ground, and whilst leaving he continued with his insults and I turned around and threw a bottle of coca cola at him which penetrated the wall behind him. Now I had opened up the armour for the devil to enter and cause a lot of harm through my stupid ways. Within a couple o hours, 4 police men were upon me ( why it took four of them I have no idea ) in my home.
I had locked my bedroom door to my brother, but when the police men knocked I immediately opened up because of my great respect for authority and desire to please The Lord. They were confused by the room they entered and whom they met. Taking me to the police station, they said ” your brother wants to put you in a mental home and has called the doctor. ” the police then began to get upset with my brother when they realised the agenda behind it all but they were nice about their dismissal of it. The doctor came and said “he is not crazy, he just had some odd religious experience but being a psychologist and knowing Stephen from his youth, he is definitely just Stephen and nothing more”.
So when I read St.Thomas fierce and sometimes unorthodox ways of holding onto Jesus I too could understand his frustration. It was not that he did not love the prostitute or want to hurt her. His actions were done out of weakness and desire for self preservation for both him and for her by scaring her away. This is what I do also, If being polite just is not working, I tell them out straight, nd like Saint Thomas, begin waving my flaming torch around to keep them at bay and simply tell them to get out. I have a duty to protect my wife and sons from bad non Christian influence and it is important I do this because i will have to answer to The Lord someday for each and every one of my family.
People say such actions are not conducive to the conversion of others, but I say that setting the example of being a pushover is not going to convert anyone. We Christians turn the other cheek, but that does not mean we throw our pearls to the swine and allow them to just trample all over them and destroy something beautiful. When Jesus was slapped by the high priests guard, he did not turn the other cheek, instead he spoke out against such injustice, we too need to do the same and to be careful who we allow into the family unit. Trust nobody, not even your own father, mother, brothers or sisters. Trust nobody but Christ and you won’t go wrong.