Morality, Church, & Modern Times

by the Very Reverend Father Krikor Chifjian

Translation by Arra S. Avakian

Family and Sanctity

What do we understand by the phrase “the Sanctity of the Family?” Surprisingly, the two words, family and sanctity, are interrelated, especially the first to the second. It seems the first without the second is a non-vibrant entity, or an entity unknowing of its identity. Such a characterization is valid, since the word sanctity, or holiness, in either a religious context or a popular context, cannot differ from the meaning of the words “clean,” “pure,” “spotless,” “sinless,” “humble,” and “righteous.” Each of these words, separately, exerts a force that parallels that of the word “sanctity.”

The structure of a family, in addition to having a sociological character, also has a religious complexion, because it has a telling influence on the birth and upbringing of an individual. A task accomplished that is not an extension of God’s miraculous creation is worth nothing. It has been said, “Man is an extension of God’s work.”

Man, endowed with miraculous capability, is that being who, besides being the procreator of one in his own likeness, and different from the animals, displays yet another marvelous, created quality. And that is, the creation, the endowment of a soul. What has God done over the centuries with His teachings and admonitions in the Holy Bible after having created man? His work was to create the inner man, the spiritual man, the true man. he endowed man with the same capability that He has, which is to create man in his own likeness, with rationality, and to edify and educate those he bears.

To edify and educate, in either a religious or other sense, needs an environment that cannot be different from a “hallowed environment,” a “spotless environment,” a “humble environment.”

It has been found through studies and investigations in the field of ethics that a non-believer father in a godless country, and a devout father with religious upbringing would equally decry seeing his minor children going astray, or becoming depraved. It has been similarly observed that even a wayward woman, just as a God-fearing, loving mother, would never want to see a daughter in such a fallen state.

Considerations such as these establish the fact that the desire to preserve sanctity in the family is an inner trait, which is very closely connected to the ideas of honor and dignity.

What is the key to sanctity in the family? How to strengthen, or open, the lock that guards sanctity? The key to the armor of sanctity is a word that expresses how we live – it is simply the word FAITHFULNESS.

That is a “hidden word” for each family being formed, which can be revealed only by living it. It is like a game found in newspaper columns, a mental game. You must find many other words before you can find this word – faithfulness.

If a family has not discovered this hidden word from the day it was formed by finding the other words – love, sincerity, obedience, patience, which are simply elements of the hidden word, Faithulness – then that hidden word is missing in that family. It will be missing no matter how much the members of that family try to pretend, or disguise their lives like actors performing on a stage or players in movies in their affected roles.

How awful the feeling must be to have been deceived! Even the deceiver is troubled by his act, because anxiety and suspicion do not clear from his mind that he will inescapably be deceived by another. A plight you create for someone else may come your way when you least expect it. When sanctity is lacking in a family, then the false love you try to display becomes a paper shield behind which you cannot find refuge. It becomes transparent, through which your true nature shows, that which you so ineffectively displayed.

A new understanding of the term “family” has been circulating in recent times. In the mind of many, it is in vogue as a contemporary concept, and as such it may attract many followers. Man is receptive to novelty. He seeks it, and if he does not find it, he creates it for himself.

That nest is not a family of a man of God, a man’s family, if it has not been formed within limits ordained by God, but with other limits or under new “laws.” and if that nest is not a man’s family, what kind of family is it? You give the answer.

Furthermore, the following has been established through inquiries and research in the field of ethics. Those who had the misfortune of marriage in other than the normal way, in most cases have fallen into that inescapable trap in times of intense passion or when under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, and not, speaking physiologically or anatomically, because of their genes, or genetic make-up.

The points of view and expressed ideas of many people are seen to be alike when they find the moral power of religion to be their path to salvation. That is because religion has not only joined morality, but has become one and the same with it. Without morality, religion is like a child left alone. That is why persons in such a situation reach for the church as a last resort for salvation. But that approach should have been taken much earlier, however, early enough to have made it possible to transfigure the family into a church.

“The family is a small church,” it has been said, in the sense that it truly becomes a house of God when sanctity prevails. The environment of the church and of the home, except for the ritual of the former, are not very different – nor should they be – as a sanctity. The family that holds itself high is hallowed. If its members know their limits, then sanctity will make its presence felt.

Those fathers and mothers who take care to preserve the sanctity of the family do not find themselves confronted with unexpected problems, because prevailing sanctity does not allow sudden changes in the family. Changes that impact on the family come from the outside, and they can be more easily parried than one that would be precipitated from within the family life.

Those parents that have care for the sanctity of family can mold a child’s fluid mind in the direction they choose. It has been quite commonly recognized that children, to a very great extent, copy their parents’ movements, speech, language style, laughter, and their lexicon. Every action that takes place in the home, speech , laughter, all are noticed and imprinted in the not-yet-articulate infant seated in a corner playing with toys. There indeed is the opportune time, and the need, to do what is necessary to preserve the sanctity of the family. That infant child left unnoticed is like a hidden camera in your home, and it can one day show you that secretly recorded film when you least expect it. Then you may regret not having preserved the sanctity of your family. But it is then too late – the tree has already grown.

FAMILY AND SANCTITY: two words that come to life in your home. And joining together, they bring us life, and they fashion a healthy society of man, in accordance with “God’s Plan.”

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