This month’s article for the CWBN Blog Hop sounded simple, and yet turned out more complex the more I thought about the topic. Click the image directly below to be taken to a directory of some other fabulous contributors to this particular topic this month!
What steps am I taking now to keep my children Catholic?
First off, I need to start by saying I have no intention of “keeping” my children Catholic. I refuse to take on guilt if my children leave the Catholic Faith.
I also grew up listening to stories of my paternal grandmother crying for the soul of my paternal grandfather. Grandma was Catholic, Papa was Methodist. This was pre-Vatican II, so her interpretation was, upon his death, he would not be awarded entrance into heaven… because he wasn’t Catholic. (There’s a story in that for another time…)
When I married my husband, I succinctly informed him I would not spend time crying for his conversion – instead, I would continue to pray that God reveals the fullness of the intimacy I find with God through the Catholic Church to him.
He agreed to allow our children to be raised in the Church, receiving the Catholic Sacraments and attending Mass.
Which brings me to what I am doing with the hope my children maintain their Catholic Faith as adults:
1. I pray for my children. I pray for them every day – usually, the Guardian Angel prayer. However, I have been known to feel compelled to ask God that they be open and receptive to Him, and learn to be champions for God. I pray they learn to seek Him, and they are able to find Him in their lives, and they are able to defend Him throughout their lives. Part of that defense leads to my next action step…
2. I am teaching them the Faith. The faith with a capital “F” – meaning, the Catholic Faith. I have learned through my own trial and error that Catholicism is full of nuances and intricacies. Every year, I learn more. We are starting at the basics right now – their prayers. As I have said before, and will continue to say, parents are called to evangelize to their children – we are called to spread the Good News of Jesus and the Gospel to our children. This includes teaching the times to ask God for help, and a time to praise God.
3. I am teaching them about the Works of Mercy and the Golden Rule. In a hands-on way, I am bringing the Works of Mercy alive for my children, teaching them both the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy. We physically perform these works for others – they see us (as their parents) doing good for others, and are encouraged to do the same. Thankfully, the Catholic Church also has a host of saints, souls we know (through the proof of miracles) made it to our ultimate goal (and reward) – heaven! Therefore, I am able to pick any age person, at any stage in life, facing any obstacle, and use his (or her) example to encourage my children to continue following God’s path.
4. I take my children to Mass. every. Holy. Day, and to other Sacraments. My oldest has seen the inside of a Confessional since he was about the age my daughter is now… eighteen months old. He is routinely on hand for Confession. Our children attend Mass on every Holy Day of Obligation–and sometimes in the middle of the week. I have been known to explain to our son that God asks only a few things of us – one is that we are good to every. person. we. meet; the other is that we attend His church every Sunday, and sometimes some other days during the year. By attending, I hope I am teaching my son the importance of following through on commitments, but also that Church (and the Sacraments) aren’t some big, scary ordeal. Instead, they are simply a fact of living a Catholic Christian life.
5. I am encouraging a personal relationship with God. In no other faith tradition have I been able to find the closeness with God that I find in the Catholic Church. Our children go with me to Adoration… not simply because I can’t find a babysitter; but, instead, they go with me because I want them to know and love God’s house, and know and love Jesus. Adoration is unique to the Catholic Faith, and it is beautiful – there are countless Adoration conversion stories out there, and I truly believe Christ works on the hearts of all who are present with Him. So, I currently
drag take them with me (our chaplain reassured me what I feel as dragging is simply our son being a boy) to spend a little extra quality time with Jesus.
6. I’m honest with them. Sometimes, I don’t want to go to Church. Sometimes, I’m not feeling God working in my life. Sometimes, I struggle with praying. But, I share those (age-appropriate) struggles with them. I try to let them know when I’m not feeling the desire, simply so they see me power through the motions. I fully expect, someday, to share my faith journey with them, too, highlighting we all go through periods where we must each, as individuals, open ourselves up to the goodness and intimacy with God, and allow Him into our lives. I want them to know it is okay to struggle, but to know it is important, in any (healthy) relationship, to power through the struggle – to stick with it, and to help the relationship reach the fullest potential. I want them to know there will be times in our lives where we won’t feel God’s presence, and that is okay… it’s what we do during those periods which will be the most telling.
At the end of the day, I can only do so much. I can’t make them stay Catholic. But, I can pray for, and with them. I can hope they see the beauty in the Catholic Faith. I can teach them “Why Catholics Believe,” what we believe, and teach them how to defend the Catholic Faith.
But, I can’t keep them Catholic.
In parenting lingo, they will ultimately be given two choices: be Catholic, or not.
They, as all of us, have free will.
They will have to choose.
This is the beauty of God and His relationship with all of us – the concept of free will.
And, like all of us, my children will have to face the consequences (either positive or negative) of their choice.
As a mother, I would like to force them to choose the path which will make it to heaven, and I can do some of that while they are children. But, in the end, I must rely on my faith, the steps I outlined above, and turn my desire to control everything in their future over to the One who made it all possible.
God created us to adore Him – I have to have faith they will respond to His calling, and turn to accept His loving embrace!
19 thoughts on “6 Ways I’m Teaching My Children the Beauty of the Catholic Faith”
I think that one of the biggest ways to show them is to truly live the Faith, not just for an hour on Sundays, but all the time. It sounds like that is what you are doing, trying to let it permeate every part of your life. In my opinion, that makes a huge difference, because it shows them that our Faith is top priority. It shows them how important it is. Great blog!
Yes!! I completely agree!! I forgot one step… I apologize. And then, try harder next time. Because yes… they need to see us living the Faith, and when we falter, they need to see us try to change.
And, I agree – we need to be living the Faith for more than an hour on Sundays! Thanks for the support!!
So much wisdom here! I especially like your emphasis on the works of mercy–not just memorizing them, but performing them. That is really beautiful to me. So much of religious education focuses on memorization–but what good is it to be able to recite the works of mercy if you haven’t also been taught to put them into practice?
Thank you! And, I agree completely. (I actually can’t say them without looking them up… but, I do them!) 😂
Good Mom, is all I have to say, as there is nothing else one can add to this post! Well maybe, blessed kids! 😉 God Bless, SR
Aww! Thank you so much! I have learned from some pretty amazing women who are more seasoned in parenting! Perk of being the youngest is we learn to study others… and, learn from them.
Yes! Honesty! We are not perfect, we struggle, we fall, we are sinners and it’s very powerful for our children when we acknowledge our weaknesses before them and we find perfection in Christ! Thank you for sharing this post!
Thank you so much!! 🤗🤗
Good stuff, Anni. We on the same page. <3
Yes!! It’s always nice to know others are doing similar things… makes me feel I’m on the right track!
Anni, I had no idea your husband is not Catholic – we have that in common. I’m so glad to hear that he is supportive of your faith and the faith of your children, that’s my biggest struggle. My husband does not want us to proceed with the sacraments (even though both of my children are baptized). He’s okay with them going to church but not open at all to any other educational opportunities. I have to teach my children by example and admittedly I’m not a great example for them. Thank you for sharing these ideas. I think I can implement some to help in my own home.
I, too, didn’t realize your husband is not Catholic! I’m glad this post was helpful for you. And, always keep in mind… we, as the Catholic partner, are the role models for the Faith (not intimidating, right?!)! And, part of being a role model is showing when we falter and don’t live up to expectations… and, acknowledging that… and as I tell my son, “do better next time!” 🤗🤗
I especially love #6! It’s called “faith” for a reason! It seems like you are doing a lot of similar things my parents did/still do for my siblings and I and all 3 of us still love being Catholic! Your writing is beautiful. Thank you for showing how awesome it is to be Catholic 😉
Thank you so much!! I am so grateful to hear many of these tips are boding well for another family… you’ll have to tell me if they have other tips! 🤗🤗
Thank you so much for reading and taking a moment to comment!
Good thoughts. Including points “0” and “7,” regarding free will.
I might have put numbers 3 and 4 at or closer to the top – although I agree that prayer is vitally important.
My mental habits and background being what they are, I see acting as if faith matters as being the biggest single “to do” for parents: at least in terms of time spent. Prayer is vital, I think teaching is a ‘must,’ to give kids the intellectual tools and connections they’ll need.
But if they don’t notice that their parents take what we believe seriously, they probably won’t either. Okay. harangue over. Well-done, and thank you for posting.
Thank you for your thoughts! They mimicked exactly what has been on my heart this weekend – how the “next generation” needs to see their parents living and being transformed by their faith. If not, then they will automatically discard it when they are on their own!
And, honestly, I’m not sure I had these ranked in any particular order… 🤔😂