By Guest Blogger Jon Leonetti
Parents of Faith
Teresa and I will have a newborn running (or laying) around the house come December. And as you can imagine, we couldn’t be more excited. But with all the excitement, shopping, fun, shopping, anticipation, shopping, and yes, more shopping – at least for Teresa, comes a new responsibility (you know, that grown-up word that accompanies most things worth having in life). Now you may be saying – duh Jon, we know new babies come with new responsibilities. But I’m not just talking about those responsibilities – so calm down; this isn’t about diaper changing or bed time stories. No, I’m talking about our spiritual responsibility to help this child – who has an immortal soul – live happily ever after–forever.
Faith of Our Children
Pope Benedict XVI has declared the coming year, beginning in October, to be “The Year of Faith” to mark the 50th anniversary of Vatican II. Like all special years or holy years declared by the pope there will be many different celebrations and observances, far too many to get into in this short blog post, but one aspect I want to call your attention to is our responsibilities as parents, young or old, to help strengthen the faith of our children.
Now as you can imagine, this is no small task. We are talking about helping a toddlers or teenagers understand the importance of eternal life – and for many of us, it’s hard enough to wrap our own minds around it, let alone preach it. Now, I’m not at all asking you to stand on a pedestal every evening and give them a sermon on the daily readings (and neither is the pope). What I am calling us (and I do mean “us”) to is a greater recognition — first, that we must dig even deeper by doing something new to help strengthen their faith this next year, and second, to actually put that ‘something new’ into action, i.e. follow through.
Tough Love Makes Saints
When I was young, I hated to eat my greens. And while this made no difference to my mom, I can see now just why she wanted me to eat them, because she wanted me to be healthy. I was her child, and she wanted the best thing for me. And so many times, is it not true that the good things we know our children need at first taste bitter to them?
The best gift we can give our kids this next year doesn’t have to wait until Christmas or their birthday. It can (and should) be given every day – the gift of a loving relationship with the living God.
Jesus Christ calls each of us to be Saints. In fact, that is the prayer Teresa and I pray every night for our child– for him or her (we’re going to be surprised on the gender) to be a Saint. And – you guessed it – we as parents can dramatically help out in that cause (no pun intended).
So to all you new parents, or those of you who are veterans, be willing to open your heart even wider in October for a faith-filled year to remember. And never forget, the greatest goal you can help your child attain is eternal life in Jesus Christ. Because that is the gift that keeps on giving – forever.