June 21, 2019

Worship and Evangelization Outreach / Gabriela Ross

Practicing discipleship in the home

Parents are the primary educators of their children in all matters, especially in the Catholic faith. Our parishes and Catholic schools assist parents in their noble calling, but the most effective way to help our young people to learn, practice and keep their faith is to teach them how to be disciples at home. Below are some ideas to get you thinking about what that might look like in your own family.

Remember your baptism—You’ve been especially anointed with the Holy Spirit that you received in baptism and confirmation to share the faith. In the sacrament of marriage, you receive the grace to raise and educate your children, especially in the faith. This is your mission! You can do this!

Waste time with your kids—Time is one of our most precious possessions. We spend a lot of time doing activities with our kids, but when we waste time with them it shows we are interested in them “just because” of who they are, not what they do. It’s about building relationship. God loves us this way! We can help our kids to know God’s love when we spend active and down time with them.

Practice your own faith—You can’t give what you don’t have. Practice your own faith by praying every day, going to Mass every Sunday, and living the faith on all the weekdays in between. Children imitate the faith of their parents, so make yours worth imitating. Pray for your children daily. Pray as a family. Pray for individual children who have something important coming up or are struggling. Teach your children to pray for you as their parent.

Share what God is doing—Can you think of a very faith-filled person in your life? Maybe you saw them practicing their faith quietly, but there’s a good chance they also spoke easily about God. If God is important in our lives and we want him to be important to our kids, we have to overcome the awkward feelings we sometimes get and use our words to share what we see God doing in our lives and the lives of others. This makes faith personal.

Teach the faith—When children see their parents “doing Catholic things” (practicing their faith) and they hear them “saying Catholic things” (sharing what God is doing), it will be natural to “learn Catholic stuff” from their parents. Children listen more willingly to witnesses than teachers, and if they listen to teachers, it’s because they were witnesses first (Pope Paul VI).

Be a mentor—You are doing the work of teaching your children, but God is doing the work of reaching out to his children, too. Mentoring is about helping your kids respond to God, who is always calling out to us. You can mentor by teaching your kids how to be silent (for age-appropriate amounts of time) and listen for the voice of God in their hearts. Teach them what happens in the Mass: what God does, what the priest does, what the people do. Jesus said the kingdom of heaven belongs to “such as these,” so trust that even little ones (especially the little ones!) are capable of knowing, loving and following God.

You’re not alone—Family is a community, our Church is a community, even our one God is a community of three persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Get involved in your parish and find the community that will support you in your vocation of marriage and family life.

For more resources related to marriage and family life, visit www.archindy.org/marriageandfamily.

(Gabriela Ross is the coordinator of the Office of Marriage and Family Life for the archdiocese. She can be reached at gross@archindy.org or 317-592-4007.)

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