Sunday, 8 February 2009

Passing on the faith

On the theme of religion in family life which Fr Jones and Fr Steel have recently metioned, here is a notice found in Douai Abbey. I hope that I will be forgiven for reproducing it in full as it does not seem to appear on their website:

Passing on the faith - Ten Top Tips

1)Pray with your children

Talk to God; teach your children how to pray. A short morning offering and three Hail Mary's before bed is an easy start. Add an examination of conscience, a great way for them to realise what they are doing wrong.

2)Pray for your children
St Monica showed us how her constant prayers turned her son from a grave sinner to the great Saint Augustine. Our children need our prayers to grow in the faith.

3)Be an example
Think about how you talk to other family members -is it mostly with love, impatience, or anger? Do your children see you praying, trying to be good and helping others? Do they see you going to Confession and Holy Communion? All these things will influence them more than you realise.

4)Take your children regularly to Confession
If you go as a family, the family is renewed in Christ and begins again. It is better than any group therapy and Christ is waiting for you, willing you to come to Him. Make a date on the calendar -make it a priority.

5)Celebrate high days and holidays
Find out the family patron saints and their feast days. Make the day special with a cake, a meal out, or a family trip. Celebrate as many feast days as you can, the holy days, Our Lady's feasts, any excuse to make your Faith joyful.

6)Resolve to make Lent and Advent special times of year
Decide as a family what each will give up, what they will do extra and how you can help others. Introduce the idea of sacrifice to build up a spiritual gift for Our Lord.

7)Teach your children their Faith
Find a catechism book and read it through with your children. If there are classes or days in the parish, make an effort to get to them. You will be rewarded, not only spiritually, but your children may learn to think of others and even help you!

8)Make sure your children know they are Catholic
Have Catholic books and saints stories at home. Put a crucifix up and a statue or picture of Our Lady. Make being a Catholic a normal part of their lives. Show them you are not embarassed about being a Catholic. Talk freely about religious matters and show how comforting praying can be.

9)Help in the parish
Could any of your children be encouraged to serve, help with the flowers, clean the church or sing in the choir? Getting them involved will draw them in and help them understand more of what goes on. Befriend a priest or religious so their example can be added to your own.

10)Prayer books in church
A suitable missal or prayer book will help you to guide them through the Mass. It will help them to understand more and may mean they are less distracted.

As I don't have any children, I can't say I've tried to put this into practice but it seems like sensible advice. In fact, a good deal of it could be applied to adults wanting to strengthen their faith too.

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