We’re thrilled to present a guest post by Leila Marie Lawler excerpted, with permission, from this post on Like Mother, Like Daughter, a blog she writes with her daughters and mother. Leila is a mother of 7, a grandmother of 9 (so far), and a widely respected Catholic author. See her latest work God Has No Grandchildren.
This post resonates with us very strongly because we know from experience the injustice suffered by children when families are torn apart.
The virtue that everyone needs to live together in harmony is justice.
The structure of the family offers a model of, let’s call it, justice applied. As I keep repeating, as John Paul II kept repeating, the world passes through the family. Because the family, even when imperfect, by its nature is a sanctuary of the weak (what is weaker than an infant?), it offers love to those whose only claim to be taken care of is just that they exist.
In itself, this is a lesson for humanity in justice.
But when the family fulfills its role as teacher and “first school of virtue,” then we see how justice is learned. And how else could it be learned? You must learn these things at your parents’ knees or have a rough road ahead of you.
Justice is the virtue of giving everyone his due.
The family offers the most justice to the child, because it protects and nurtures him before sending him out into the world. A child needs stability almost more than anything else (which is why good societies always try not to take a child away, even from a bad family, but rather give the family the help it needs if possible). A baby is so vulnerable that only by having two committed parents can it really survive and thrive.
It offers justice to the woman, because bearing a child is a risky business. The family offers the wife protection when she’s at her most vulnerable and affirmation of her need to have time to bond with her baby. Only in a family can a woman properly nurture her children!
Through life, the family recognizes her contribution and doesn’t abandon her in her old age, when she is through with her productive years. Instead, it crowns her with honor for her sacrifice. This is why motherhood should never be separated from the family. What is more unjust than a woman whose ability to provide a child has been exploited?
The family offers justice to the man, who, without this bond, would not have a strong enough connection to his wife and his children. When a man gives his all for his family, working for them, protecting them, his contributions are honored and his loved ones stay close to him. It would be unjust to view a man as detachable from the good of the family.
So when men, women, and children live in families, they are experiencing justice and providing justice to others. This justice spreads, because as they gather in a community and the communities form the state, everyone has a stake in doing what is best for the least powerful among them and giving everyone his due, which is justice.
Justice for children is a strong loving family. Strong families make strong communities. Families need your support today. Please help by donating.