As someone who has been around the Family Formation “block” a few times, I can’t tell you how excited I am to see a new lesson! (*See related tangent at the bottom of the post.)
This one is all about what it means to be a citizen and how that is informed and influenced by our Catholic Faith. Citizenship may seem like a grown-up topic, after all your kids don’t vote yet and probably have little interest in public policy of any kind, but this topic is very relevant to people of all ages, as you will learn.
Start out the lesson by making your kids aware of all the citizenships they currently hold.
We are all citizens of many groups, and being a citizen has a lot to do with the things we share – how we work and play together with the other members of the group. Each of those memberships comes with rights and privileges, but also with duties (we don’t just GET, we must GIVE as well). This is easily demonstrated by starting with the most basically level of citizenship – family life. Everyone, regardless of age or ability, contributes to the quality of their family life, so this lesson starts at that most basic and important level.
Being a good citizen affects us here on earth in pretty obvious ways, but it also preparation for life in heaven, where everyone is a perfect citizen! In this preparation, the Commandments are our most valuable guide. We have the example of Saint Thomas More (and many others of course) who rightly prioritized by realizing that he was “the king’s good servant, but God’s first.”
For older saints and adults (and any teens in your family), we strongly urge you to read the extra information on page 6 regarding the important distinction between what is legally okay and what is morally right. More and more often these days, it seems like the two are not the same. To find out more about what the US Catholic Bishops have to say about these issues, please take some time with this easy-to-read document, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. (I’m sure bishops of other countries have issued similar guidelines for those under their care. Check your diocesan website or with your priest for details.)