If we want to raise Catholic children and keep them that way, it's important that we aren't just going through the motions. This week, how about a few links to help us be more intentional Catholic parents who lead our children to Christ by the sacraments and example?
- Show Your Faith, Even at Work. When I worked for the University of Minnesota, I often felt as though I were behind enemy lines. I found myself anticipating conflict and constantly wondering if I were outspoken enough about my faith. Three separate priests, on three separate occasions, gave me the same advice: It's not about picking fights with people who feel differently -- it's about being a known, visible, practicing Catholic. If people see you living your faith, they'll be drawn to it, and if nothing else, they'll realize that Catholics are all "bad." For advice and inspiration on this topic, check out "Five Ways to Show Catholic Courage at Work."
- Make Up Their Minds For Them. Some parents worry they are somehow hampering their children's personal development and freedom by raising a them Catholic. The First Things article "Should Children Make Up Their Own Minds About Religion" makes the case that, no matter how you raise your child, you are shaping their reality for them, and rightly so -- because they aren't equipped to do it for themselves. It is important to give them the right framework early, that they may choose wisely when it comes time to choose for themselves.
- Mass Is Essential! This month's adult lessons are focused on the Mass and the Eucharist -- the "source and summit" of our faith. How serious is it to miss Sunday Mass? Years ago, I went to confession with a long list of sins, including the fact that I has missed Mass while traveling. When I finished my list, the priest ignored everything but that missed Mass. "You know that the Mass and the Eucharist are meant to be an experience of the heavenly banquet here on earth, right?" he asked. I said yes. "And when you choose not to go to heaven, where do you choose to go?" I understood. God asks us to give Him one day a week -- a small price to pay for our existence! For more on how to share this reality with your children, read, "Keepin' It Real: Why Sunday Mass Is Important" on the LifeTeen website.
- Stop Worrying and Take a Load Off. For a blessing as big as the sacrament of Confession, we sure have a lot of anxiety about it. "Should I go or not? Is my list long enough? Too long? Face-to-face or behind-the-screen? Will Father know me? Judge me?" For a great insider's perspective on what happens in the confessional, relax and read Fr. Mike Schmitz's article "Inside the Confessional: What Is It Like For a Priest?"
...then pack up the family and head to the church. The sacraments -- and the Savior -- await!
Labels: church, Confession, Eucharist, faith, family, fatherhood, Mass, work