Living them, teaching them
It’s important for us to let the seasons breathe in their proper way and to let them shape our lives. Spring shows death giving way to life as buds blossom from what appeared to be dead bushes. Summer heat saps our energy and hurts us if we aren’t careful. Fall is the time for the final harvest as well as the time to plant wheat. Winter teaches us empathy with people who suffer from the cold and who are deprived of adequate shelter, clothing, or food.
Life, too, has seasons: hope, rebirth, preparation, and preservation. Children are not exempt from any of them, and we adults have a responsibility to show them that drawing on faith is a worthy practice during all seasons.
My parents made sure faith poured into our lives like the sun’s rays on a garden, and it felt that natural. They weren’t dogmatic in their faith, but they believed Catholicism was our compass in every season.
What they passed to us in words they also strongly communicated through sacramentals. The atmosphere at home was reinforced through Catholic grade school with daily Mass as well as recitation of the rosary, visits to the Blessed Sacrament, and attendance at marriages and funerals.
Life is a complex arena in which desires, loves, energies, passions, and efforts work together or, despite the best of intentions, clash. Life is hard. People are good, yet they are capable of great evil. By not shielding us from the world, my parents showed us that around each bend there can be both good and bad, but there is also God’s grace. One way we experience grace is by an invitation to a new and deeper life. My parents held this as a core belief and never gave up on it.
We hope this issue of Liguorian expands your perspective on the grace in your life. Perhaps you’ll see it at work in the beatification of John Paul II, in Saint Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, and in the struggle of those dealing with job loss. All around us, living witnesses believe God’s offer of friendship is never withdrawn. Even if they never tell us in so many words, they teach by moving through their seasons with faith, planting seeds of life wherever they tread.
This past March, Pope Benedict XVI spoke on the life and spirituality of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, the founder of the Redemptorist congregation. The Holy Father called this esteemed saint and doctor of the Church “a model of missionary action…especially among the poor,” and suggested ways to apply the teachings, writings, and practices of Saint Alphonsus to today’s Church. For more information on the writings of and about Saint Alphonsus, visit liguori.org or call 800-325-9521.