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What Road Will They Take?

Post Date: February 4, 2022
Author: Laura Stephens

I long more than anything for others to experience the love of Christ. I want them to know in every fiber of their body that they are cherished by God. I have been blessed with a deep love from an early age and have always found it easy to love God. I can truly say that God has blessed me with faith for it has nothing to do with me; but all to do with His generous gift to me. Not only did He provide me with this gift, but He blessed me with people that continually lead me to God.

Sadly, there are those close to me who have not had that same experience. They grew up without God being part of their lives. No mention of God in their home. No sharing of His love in a way that referenced Him at all. Ultimately, they experienced no connection with God and His deep love.

My heart aches for those who do not know how much they are loved by God. The sharing of God’s love must come from our homes for this is where God has designed the primary experience of love. Without its roots in home life, it takes much more personal initiative or, sadly, brokenness in life to experience God’s love in today’s culture. Even though I have written much about family life lately, there is another area that I feel needs a bit more specific attention.

It is crucial that we help engage our children in faith on their own. I liken it to if we always carried our young child and never let their feet touch the ground, would they ever want to walk on their own or could they really appreciate the gift of walking? Our children need to learn to stretch their own faith legs and not always be carried by us. Children need to feel that it is their personal faith and not just their parents’ faith. If they do not make it their own, there is a much higher likelihood that they will lose the faith or walk away from it to take a different road. 

I pray persistently that my children will remain close to God and to our beloved Catholic faith. I regularly seek God’s guidance in how I can provide the environment of faith for them and most importantly how they can love God so deeply that they could not imagine life without being close to Him.

In answering some of my prayers, God has been teaching me specific ways to invite my children into an authentic and personal love for Him.  I will humbly share what these are; but I believe fully that God has a plan for each person in how they need to remain close to Him. So, I encourage you to be open to inspirations or pulls on your heart for what your family needs.

Personal quiet prayer time

My family prays together at various times throughout the day. Our favorite being our nighttime prayer time when we offer up intentions and pray specific prayers together. It has a simple but purposefully rhythm to it. However, I have been convinced lately how much each person needs quiet time with God. Our world is so full of noise and busyness that it is easy to skip over this valuable time. Start with a small amount of time and allow it to grow as the person’s capacity grows.  Encourage your children to start simply with memorized prayers and then moments of silence to be open to God. Invite them when they are ready to use their own words to talk to God as though He is their best friend sitting right there with them. Some days they might have more to say than others. It will get easier over time so don’t get discouraged if they struggle or resist this prayer time. Their hearts need it more than they can understand now, so let us persist!

Reading the Bible on their own

Scripture is so amazing as it speaks personally to every person differently throughout their lives. Encourage your children to read little bits of Scripture on their own. An easy place to start for them is with one of the Gospels. The words and stories of Jesus speak to their hearts in a more tangible way than some of the more complicated Old Testament books. Even if they just read a couple stories a week they are connecting with the Word of God and getting to know Jesus better. They can engage more with the stories if they imagine themselves in the stories and what it would have been like to be present. Bible reading is perfect during their quiet prayer time as it leads perfectly to talking to God.

Good Catholic literature

The words and stories we place into our hearts and minds lead our thoughts and our actions.  Finding good books for children will fill their imagination with Catholic faith and virtue. It is a fabulous way to increase their love. More to come on this topic in a future blog!

Get to the heart of the faith

Share the faith. Let the children know about the Catholic Church teachings but connect it with love.  When being told to follow the rules of God, be sure it is taught with the heart of why – because God loves us and wants to protect us. This connection will help our children when they are faced with occasions when they must decide between God’s loving faith and the lure of sin. A relationship of love is a much firmer foundation for faith than principles and requirements.

May these humble suggestions inspire your family to continue down the road of growing in holiness. May your children embrace the faith as their own. I pray that your children remain forever close to God and hold true to the Catholic faith. 

Most Holy Family, keep our children on the road to Heaven!

Author: Laura Stephens, FF Sacrament Preparation Catechist

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