“However, take care and be earnestly on your guard
not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen,
nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live,
but teach them to your children and to your children’s children.”
(From Today’s first reading Deuteronomy 4: 1, 5-9)
I had a tumultuous start to the day. When I finally got to work, I was exhausted, mentally and physically. I ran – literally – to Jesus – to daily mass, hoping to regain some peace. Today’s first reading and Father’s homily were words that I really needed to be reminded of. I’m afraid that given the state of our world, it is something that many, many people need to hear.
As parents, our most important job – above all of the thousands of tasks we do each day – is the imparting of our faith to our children. If we are depending on our children’s schools or catechetical programs to teach the faith, then we are guilty of spiritual neglect. I know that when I pray for my children, I pray for their physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Of those three aspects of a child, which is the most important? I’ll answer that – SPIRITUAL – because it has eternal – FOREVER – consequences.
In our Catholic Schools, it has become a sad fact that only about 40-50% of students attend mass on a regular basis with their families on Sunday. I don’t have the figures for public schools. The children are being told in their religion classes at school or in the parish the importance of our Sunday obligation to attend mass. It is in keeping one of the ten commandments. If parents don’t set the example and actually take their children to mass, religious educators can talk until they are blue in the face. Actions speak so much louder than words. If parents don’t pray with their kids, talk to them about faith and take them to church, the kids will (likely) not grow up to do those things with their kids.
Deuteronomy tells us today the importance and grave responsibility of passing on our faith to our children. Kids are our future. What will the world be like when they grow up if their lives are devoid of God – of faith? I think that we are experiencing some of that now. I don’t want to live in a world like that. It’s terribly frightening!
I have to admit that though I believe this responsibility to be paramount, I needed the wake-up call this morning. I’ve been very busy with work and responsibilities lately. Don’t we all periods of time in our lives like that? I do make sure that we get to mass as a family on Sunday, but there is so much more to a faith education than that. I’m guilty of giving into fatigue, and passing up a golden minute with my kids – an opportunity to catechize, to discuss issues of faith, to pray more together, to read a bible story at bedtime. This precious time cannot be recaptured. We only get one shot as parents – a sobering reality.
Don’t we all want what is best for our kids? Isn’t a deep and well-formed faith in God in their best interest? It surely is the best gift we can give them to ready them for their eternal future. It just may be the best gift we can give them to face the difficulties and uncertainties of life on this earth!