Well, with the Epiphany having been celebrated, Christmas is now over and it is time to make good on the resolutions we thought of starting for this Year of Grace 2017! The greatest of responsibilities we have is to look generationally…to growing what has been given to us and leave it to the next generation better than how we found it.
Our young people need encouragement today more than ever, especially in the ways of the faith. We live in a society that openly ridicules and mocks Christian values and the Catholic faith. I think that helping our children to set the priority of faith is among the most important things you can ever do for your sons/daughters. It is interesting that most parents have no problem “encouraging and incentivizing” their children to do all sorts of things such as doing their homework, taking care of their chores, going to Mass, and being nice to their siblings. Such actions do help teens to understand the importance of these things and certainly your expectations for them as parents who are concerned for their well-being, overall good, and future success.
It is important to remember that the most important responsibility a parent has for his/her son or daughter is not to ensure them of a quality education, give them a good earning potential, or even to provide for them the highest possible standard of living. The most important responsibility that a parent has for their children is to help get them to heaven! Everything else (physical health, athleticism, popularity, GPA, wealth, popularity, etc.) will fade away, but heaven lasts forever. Obviously, once they are old enough to move out and be independent, your responsibility shifts dramatically, however, it is often in those later years that many parents experience regret that their children no longer practice the faith or that they have given up on the Church.
Never underestimate the importance of these formative years. Parents, you basically have one shot to get it right! As the product of Catholic schools, I strongly believe in the value of a Catholic education. Sometimes parents who have sacrificed financially for their children to go to Catholic school have a hard time understanding why their children as adults stop going to church. Blessed Paul VI said that what the world listens to today is not teachers, but witnesses! The greatest way to teach is by example. And January 22nd is a perfect “field trip” for the parent/teacher to fill in the generation gap and put our faith into action. So, again, it’s time to plan our trip…call and reserve the bus seats to the March for Life Rally to the State Capitol.
Education has its role, but Jesus’ power has not limited to that of a teacher, but rather as a witness to the Father’s love. What can we do to better the chances that our children will cling to their Catholic faith in future both in times of joy and in times of distress? Let’s be witnesses being called by the Judge of the Universe to testify, in our small way, to the Gospel of Life.