The home environment

“A serene and constructive home environment, with its duties and its affections, is the first school of work and the best place in which a person may discover his potential, nurture his ambitions, and foster his most noble aspirations. Moreover, family life teaches us to overcome selfishness, to nourish solidarity, not to disdain sacrifice for another’s happiness, to value what is good and true, and to apply ourselves with conviction and generosity in the name of our joint well being and reciprocal good, showing responsibility towards ourselves, others and the environment”. (Pope Benedict XVI, November 10, 2011)

The Christian home is truly a gymnasium of virtues.   These are a few things I learned at home:

1. Family Prayer- We never missed Mass on Sunday, we prayed before meals and before going on trips, and my mom gave us a powerful example by attending daily Mass and praying the daily rosary.

2. Discipline and hard work– we all had our assigned chores (setting the table, doing the dishes, taking out the garbage, cutting the grass, washing the car, vacuuming, folding clothes, keeping our own rooms clean, dusting, etc…).  We had a tradition on Saturday morning from 8 to 10 AM where we would all chip in to clean the house together.  My brothers and I started caddying after 5th grade and this helped us appreciate the value of money…my parents covered our “needs” and we paid for our “wants.”

3. Solidarity- My older sister helped me with my French homework, my older brother Tom helped with my Math and Science homework and my older brother Jim taught me how to play just about every sport imaginable.  I experienced this selflessness day after day, and I am eternally grateful to them for their generosity.

4. Family Meals- My dad woke up at 4 AM to get back in time, my mom prepared the meal before going to school to teach, and the 4 siblings knew that we had to organize our schedules to make our 5:30 PM dinner work.  It was a rare moment when one member of our family was not there for dinner…

5. Fraternal love- Although we certainly had our scuffles and bumps, home for me was the place where I experienced unconditional love.  The look in the eyes of my mom and dad and my siblings communicated this love and it still happens today…I pray every day that my family will be together in heaven, and I encourage you to pray for this as well!

About Father Michael Sliney, LC

Father Michael Sliney was ordained a priest in Rome on December 24, 1998. He studied mechanical engineering at Michigan State University for two years before entering the Legion. As a seminarian he earned a bachelors in philosophy from the University of St. Thomas Aquinas and degrees in philosophy and theology from the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum College in Rome. He works with youth groups in the Washington D.C. area.
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