Directives on Family Life: St.Chavara //
Fr. Dr. Thomas Kadankavil C. M. I
|Fr. Dr. Thomas kadankavil CMI
Chavara's first letter to the people Kainakary, written in February 1968, is known as "Directives of Families" (Kudumbachattam). The many exhortations Chavara gives in this letter regaring the care and upbringing of children contain a great deal of modern phycological and spiritual insight. Although he gave shape to many of them in the social and cultural context of his time, even today these counsels have not lost their meaning and relevancein character formation. These counsels also reveal Chavara's vision of the family and family life. Given below are some of the key ideas of Chavara on the upbringing of children.
As children grow up, they should be taught to recite with devotion the Holy names of Jesus,Mary and Joseph. They should also be taught other important prayers like the Our father, the Hail Mary and the Glory be to and the Angelus (Letters,Vol.IV,pp.111-112,no.2). "Young children should not be allowed to walk about nacked, even inside the house"(no.3). "In order that children may respect their parents, they should not be allowed to sleep in their parent's bed room. Boys and girls should not be put in the same room to sleep" (no4). "As soon as the children reach the age of reason they must be sent to the school" (no.6) "Children should not be allowedshould be to stay in the homes of relatives"(No.7). " When they are eight years age, they are to be taught all about confession and should be helped to make their confession" (No.8). " One should be neither too stern nor too lenient with one's children. Too much of indulgence will make them proud and too much of severity and punishment will make them desperate, shameless, and weak of intelect"(No.9). "At dusk when the bell for the angelus is rung, make it a rule that children should be at home. (10) After night prayers teach them to say 'praise be to Jesus' to their parents and kiss their hands"(no. 11) "To make girls dress up in finery and let them go about on the protext of human respect, wealth and family prestige and to make wear cloths and ornaments beyond one's ability and status will in a way promote vanity in them... A girl's ornaments are modesty, piety, silence and control of the eyes"(no.12). " When children are old enough to determine their vocation, they should be given full freedom to follow their bent of mind...(no.14). "Write out the will or partition -deed in time"No.16).
|People of Kainakary
When we find Chavara is the tender loving heart of a true father. Just as a loving father wants to rear his children in the best possible way, so also Chavara wanted to rear every child born in a Christen family in the best possible way, giving it the best of Christian education and training.
Love as the Life-Blood of the Faith: "Kudumbachattam"
In the vision of Chavara, love is the life giving force in the family. He therefore, endeavours to show that love alone is the force that can enable us to forgive one another and thus enjoy peace in this world and eternal bliss in the world to come.Chavara admonished his people to keep away from all sorts of strife and the tendency to make revenge and keep away from the civil lawsuits' Kudumbachattam' (no.1) and he further says that even if one feels that is for a just cause.
Sundays and other obligation days are our Lord's days. It is least befitting to hold secular celebrations on sucha days. It may cause many evils amounting even to the perdition of souls (Letters, p. 104,no.3). "Donot wander into other people's houses hunting after news"(no.7). "Donot admitt all sourts of people to your house. Accept only those who are good and God- fearing"( No.9). " Make it clear to others that your home is not a place for indulging in profane conversation,ill befitting a Christian family; it should not be a place for speaking ill of others and for gossiping"(No.10). "Do not wish to make many friends. Out of thousands, choose just one. He who doesnot love God will not love you either."( No.16). " Never withhold just wages from labourers or make undue delay in paying them, because that is an offence that creis out to God for justice. Do not insult the poor, neither should you vex them, because if God seesthem weeping, He will surely wreak, vengeance on you"(No.18).
In all illness and sufferings surrender yourself completly to God" No.20). " Spiritual books and philosophical writings that promote and nurture devotion are treasures to be earned for children. Buy as many books of this sort as your means allow and keep them in store in your house" ( No.21). "The employees of your household should be particularly God-fearing and they must be as few as possible"(No.23). " Besides keeping sundays holy by participating in the holy Mass, spend a large portion of the day listening to sermons, reading good books and similar other occupations, visiting the sick,especially the poor, and serving them" (No.22).
|വി. ചാവറ തീർത്ഥാടന കേന്ദ്രം
The underlying inspiration of these counsels is his ardent desire for the creation of healthy families with a lifestyle that is based on faith, and with labour-relations that are just. Chavara's counsels may appear to be nothing more than a litany of some traditional practices and counsels that were already known in the community. But if we have a closer look at them we shall find them as deep insights coming from a mature mind. They reveal a loving father's profound concern for the development and welfare of his own beloved children. When one take a look at the rules and directives that St. Chavara prescribed for every member of the family to be observed from the dawn to dusk and at every stage of life, one is forced to think that perhaps St. Chavara envisioned the family also as a small monastery. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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