The Virtue of Aseity and Family Life

March 30, 2023


Chapter 5

Having defined the word aseity and explained its importance, let us now understand what aseity or personality, to use a more common term, receives and how it benefits from family life. In fact, it receives almost everything.

Personality is a profound force within us. Even so, in its first manifestations, it evidently tends to be timid. It is born in a fragile state and finds its natural support in family life.

What are those supports? The first support that personality receives from family life is that of heredity, and the second is tradition.

Let us hear what Pope Pius XII has to say about heredity in his Allocution to the Patriciate and Roman Nobility on 5th January, 1941:

The nature of this great and mysterious thing that is heredity—the passing on through a bloodline, perpetuated from generation to generation, of a rich ensemble of material and spiritual assets, the continuity of a single physical and moral type from father to son, the tradition that unites members of one same family across the centuries—the true nature of this heredity can undoubtedly be distorted by materialistic theories. But one can, and must also, consider this reality enormously important in the fullness of its human and supernatural truth.

One certainly cannot deny the existence of a material substratum in the transmission of hereditary characteristics; to be surprised at this one would have to forget the intimate union of our soul with our body, and in what great measure our most spiritual activities are themselves dependent upon our physical temperament. For this reason Christian morality never forgets to remind parents of the great responsibilities resting on their shoulders in this regard.

Passing from biological heredity to the role of tradition, Pius XII continues:

Yet of greater import still is spiritual heredity, which is transmitted not so much through these mysterious bonds of material generation as by the permanent action of that privileged environment that is the family, with the slow and profound formation of souls in the atmosphere of a hearth rich in high intellectual, moral, and especially Christian traditions, with the mutual influence of those dwelling under one same roof, an influence whose beneficial effects endure well beyond the years of childhood and youth, all the way to the end of a long life, in those elect souls who are able to meld within themselves the treasures of a precious heredity with the addition of their own merits and experiences.

Such is the most prized patrimony of all, which, illuminated by a solid faith and enlivened by a strong and loyal practice of Christian life in all its demands, will raise, refine, and enrich the souls of your children.6

“Men with real opinions will find it hard to persevere, not so much because of persecution, fear, etc., but because of the factor of collective pressure which no man will be able to escape;”

Here you have a definition of what a home is. There is a reciprocal action between heredity and tradition. Thus, a family constitutes its own small internal world because it has a defined heredity that is derived from biological factors acting over psychological ones, these being formed by the faith and cultural values. A person born into this world feels himself marvellously placed because it is derived from a common foundation existing among the members of the family. It corresponds precisely to the most profound level of each one’s personality. It stimulates each one to be what he is. It favours the uninhibited blossoming of the characteristics of the family, and because of this, stimulates the blossoming of the individual characteristics linked to the family.

6)     Pius XII, Discorsi e Radiomessaggi di Sua Santita Pio XII, Tipografia Pliglotta Vaticana, 5 January, 1941, pp. 363-366.

The Christian Institution of the Family: A Dynamic Force to Regenerate Society, by Tradition, Family, Property Association. Pgs. 62-65



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