Book Notes Christian Living Marriage and Family

Preventing the Growth of Sensuality

“Parents: shelter your children from this deadly
contagion by means of concern and strictness.”


[Part 5 of a 10 part series of book notes
taken from On the Upbringing of Children by Bishop IRENAIUS

Chapter 5
Preventing the Growth of Sensuality

“Fleshly desire and passion is one of the greatest evils of our times…It damages marriages, families, children, careers and personal lives and nothing seems to be able to check its disastrous influence. For this reason – Parents: shelter your children from this deadly contagion by means of concern and strictness.

  • The soul of man bears the image of God and his body is the crown of the animal world.
  • In keeping with the order of Creation, the soul must rule the body. However, when the soul rebelled against God, the body followed its master.
  • Because of sin, a propensity to do anything that gratifies the senses arose in man.
  • Sensuality is:
    • the soul subjugated to fleshly desires
    • when fleshly desire holds dominion over man
    • when man is enslaved to the desire and cannot think of God, of faith or His commands and will
    • what darkens everything pure, holy and divine
    • a great evil, a great calamity and deadly poison
  • Sensuality produces laziness in physical and mental labor, therefore…
    • Teach your children to work hard and that no honest work is shameful. Laziness is shameful.
    • Accustom your children to both physical and mental labor.
  • Sensuality produces gluttony and drunkenness, therefore…
    • Accustom your children to simple food at fixed times
    • Teach them to eat all they are given and to thank God for it
    • Man does not live to eat, but eats to live
  • Sensuality produces debauchery, therefore…
    • Accustom your children to water and milk
    • Avoid wine, stimulating or intoxicating liquids
    • Impress the words of the Lord upon them “Blessed are the pure in heart” (Matt. 5:8)
    • Preserve your child’s implanted modesty
    • Be cautious of passions that transmit from parents to children
    • Do not overlook indecent language
    • Remind them that their guardian angel watches over them
    • Isolate them from children that are shameless and undisciplined
    • Do not let friends of the opposite sex sleepover
    • Keep watch over your little ones to protect them against the depraved man [i.e. predator], who may be among people you know or are friendly with.
    • Pray daily for your children’s innocence
    • Entrust your children to the Mother of God and their guardian angel
    • Remember the weight of your responsibility as parents regarding the purity of God’s children

…Take care for the chastity and purity of your children’s souls.

About the book…

“It was not that long ago that pious parents raised their children to become Saints, to serve God in this world and the next.  Perhaps only two generations ago, parents were still raising Saints in Orthodox countries.  But the success of anti-Christianity in our time has been so complete that concern for one’s own salvation is considered, at best, a harmless eccentricity, while concern for one’s children’s salvation is sometimes even considered dangerous by forward-looking educators…To parents struggling in this cold modern climate, we off a small book of timeless guidance on how to teach virtues to children.  The homilies in this book were originally published in Russia in 1901.  The times have changed considerably since then, but human nature has not.  We still have the age-old struggle with the passions, the world, and the fallen spirits.  We must still strive to train out own and our children’s souls to the high ideals of holiness given us by Christ.  May God grant that this book may assist parents in their difficult and delicate task of raising children fit for His Kingdom.”

– St. Xenia Skete (October 13/26, 1991)

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