Faith Lived Is Faith Taught
From the day the priest poured water over our babies’ heads and anointed them with chrism, my husband and I knew it was our responsibility to train them in the practice of the faith. The rite of baptism told us so.
But it didn’t seem like big a deal. What’s faith formation to an infant? As long as we cuddle them and keep them fed and dry and safe, we’re mirroring God, who is love.
Fast-forward a few years, and the responsibility gets a lot scarier.
After all, we’re not theologians or saints. We’re doctors and factory workers, stay-at-home moms and retail clerks. What do we know about passing on the faith? What if we get it wrong—and our children leave the Church for good?
We faithfully send our kids to Catholic schools and religious-education classes, trusting that great Someone Else to cover our bases. Classes are important, but a living faith is learned by consistent example, and our children watch us all the time. Even after they’re in school, we’re still their primary teachers of the faith—and we can’t teach what we don’t know. In other words, forming our children’s faith begins with forming our own. We can’t wait for some nebulous future; the future is now.
Opportunities to form our faith aren’t hard to find. Some parishes offer Scripture studies or faith-sharing groups, and the Internet is the great equalizer. Podcasts, devotions, Church documents—even the Catholic Encyclopedia—are online. You can make friends through Catholic blogs and websites, share insights and thoughtful conversations via comment boxes. Pop culture takes its share of hits, but movies, TV, and book fads provoke discussions that make us think, question, and go in search of answers.
The more I learn, the more connections I see between the teachings of my faith and the world at large. The more connections I see, the more I realize faith reaches every aspect of life—work, social, family—and that God must be there, directing every choice, decision, and action every moment of every day.
A tall order? Perhaps. But think of it this way: If we can manage this, the rest will take care of itself. After all, faith lived does its own teaching to the next generation. ♦