January 12, 2014 View from the Rectory Window

Not a week goes by that I do not speak with someone who is struggling because their son or daughter has “lost the faith”. Yet, rarely is it discussed in public.

 

I believe it is often a never-mentioned problem faced by Christian parents. These are the faithful parents who are in the pews on Sunday. They raised their children in the faith. It is part of everything they do, yet somewhere between high school and their early 20’s, they decide that religion, especially Christianity, is not for them. They are influenced by the secular media, college professors who mock religion as something that no reasonable person would profess, and a constant barrage of attacks on Christianity as being outdated, old fashioned, in conflict with science, rights, and the list goes on.

What can faithful parents do? I do not know that I have the answers, but I can share a few things from experience.

Do not argue. Frankly, it only makes it worse, and pushes them farther away. We will never out-shout or out-whit our kids into believing.

Remain faithful! Do not let their falling away from the faith discourage you or make you suppress your beliefs. Sirach 44:13 says, “And for all time their progeny will endure, their glory will never be blotted out.” Our Lord promises that if we remain faithful, He will bless our children! We must remain faithful and not be afraid to show the joy of the Lord in our lives. In the book of Acts, when the jailer asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ And they said,” Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved.” (16:3)

Prayers and sacrifice! Most have heard of Saint Augustine, considered to be one of the greatest Christian thinkers of all time. He spent his younger days as a hedonist. He was anything but saintly! His mother, Saint Monica, prayed for decades for his return to the faith. Finally, not only did he return to the faith but he became a doctor of the church.

Pray that God brings someone else (besides you) into their lives. Then we must trust God to do it! Although Saint Monica prayed, she also prayed that God would intervene and put someone into Augustine’s life. And God did. Saint Ambrose, the bishop of Milan, was Augustine’s match for rhetoric, but older and experienced. God put Ambrose in Augustine’s life to bring him back to the faith.

Study and learn to defend the faith! As we learn more about the faith, we are better equipped to answer questions and defend what we believe. As stated in 1 Peter 3:15, “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame.”

Love them and do not push them away! Love them more than ever. Make it a point to tell them that you love them. Let them see your joy and happiness. Make them want what you have! “This is good and pleasing to God our Savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3-4)

Father Pete