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MaryBeth Eberhard shares how she uses ordinary occurrences to teach spiritual lessons to her children.

The door to the front of my house frequently and spontaneously opens. We live in the country and there are not too many trees near that part of my home to shelter us from the strong gusts of wind. In typical Eberhard fashion, we have used this as an opportunity to teach our family about the Holy Spirit. Someone will inevitably yell “Come, Holy Spirit!” as the door burst opens. Paper will blow off tables, the dogs will gratefully accept the invitation to go outdoors, and our home will literally feel a gush of wind blow through it. In reality, that looks like an all-hands-on-deck moment where someone is running to close the door, someone else is picking up the pencils, papers, and other memorabilia that has blown off of shelves or tables, animals are welcomed back into the house, and leaves or mulch are swept up.

I like to rebaptize things in my mind, a gift learned from Fr. Schalk, a dear friend of mine. From secular songs to commercials and the everyday family moment, Jesus is truly present in it all, we just need to have eyes to see Him. We need to be aware. We have, after all, an expectant faith. Take for instance, the moment I just described. For my kids, they have grown up with me pointing out that each paper picked up can represent something the Father wants to give to you. Each gust of wind is Him reminding you of His promises to you, His love, His presence. A grateful heart that is trained to look for the Lord sees these moments with different eyes.

I realize it’s easy to put these kind of moments on pedestals as we visualize it. Prayerful children obediently picking up the papers, thanking Jesus for all He has given them; but let’s put the next layer of reality on it. The door blows open, someone indeed yells. “Come Holy Spirit!” Papers blow, animals run out barking, and no one gets up. Sometimes that is reality too. What’s a momma to do? Again in this house, it might look like me saying the prayer to the Holy Spirit out loud, perhaps even singing or shouting it.

Come Holy Spirit, Fill the heart of thy faithful. Enkindle in them a fire for thy love.

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The basis for catechesis is exposure. Exposure comes from being in the environment where holiness happens. The truth is, my kids are not always going to choose to place themselves in holy environments, but I can attempt to create that for them. 

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Family life lived out in the everyday attempt towards holiness plants seeds that time and repetition help bloom. #catholicmom

Family life lived out in the everyday attempt towards holiness plants seeds that time and repetition help bloom. My kids may rebel, roll their eyes, sigh, or even walk away for a time from their faith. I know that their lives have been rooted in foundational memories created time and time again.

Our family has traditions that I trust are sealed in their core by the Holy Spirit. Stations of the cross around the family table, nighttime family Rosaries, hymns song from the top of the steps as they fall asleep, and a home filled with a spirit of welcoming in all, are just a few faith traditions we have held. The everyday moments of late-night talks, reading books together, nature walks, schooling together, long car drives, and lots and lots of laughter lead to children who see virtue pursued in the everyday.

Our children need us to not only be guard rails as they grow into maturity, but also to create a lifestyle where they are able to fully recognize Christ’s presence living out in every moment.

Copyright 2021 MaryBeth Eberhard
Images: Canva Pro