[caption id="attachment_172392" align="aligncenter" width="1180"] Image: Pixabay.com, CC0/PD[/caption]
My godparents’ daughter has become a special spiritual friend to me lately. When she told me she planned to use this time sequestered at home to write her faith journey so that she could print it and present it to each of her children by Christmas, I thought that was an incredible plan. It was a new idea to me but she said it was something she had thought of and wanted to do for a long time but just didn’t have the time before (see, there is good coming from this pandemic!).
The more I thought about her writing, the more it made me think about my own faith journey, and how much my young adult children truly know about my own path. They know the highlights, and they know how I practice my faith, but do they really know where it came from and what I believe? Is it enough to attend Sunday Mass as a family, make a sign of the cross in front of them when passing an ambulance or church, remind them to say grace before meals and pray before going to bed, put out an Advent wreath at Christmas, and help prepare them to receive their first sacraments as children?
There are a lot of other faith-filled things I do throughout my days that my children have no idea I do. There are many feelings and ideas I have regarding my relationship with God that I haven’t shared with them.
My Grandma (and her sister, who was my godmother) was a very devout Catholic raised in a large Catholic family well known at their home parish. She lived her faith, but in a very private and non-vocal way, which was common in her era. She didn’t read the Bible, but prayed the Rosary frequently and never missed a Holy Day of Obligation. My mom and we grandkids knew she was filled with a love and passion for God without her having to tell us -- she just lived it.
My mom was very similar in that she was a strong Catholic who kept her faith to herself but lived a godly life. She was kind to everyone, never said a mean word about anyone (her favorite phrase was, “If you can’t say anything nice about someone then don’t say anything at all”), gave of herself to family and friends, and volunteered in the community. She too lived by all the Catholic traditions and rituals. These two women were incredible examples of Catholic motherhood.
Several years ago I made the conscious decision to try to become more vocal about my faith (partly due to my better evangelizing Protestant girlfriends). I treasured that my descendants exemplified their faith by how they lived and loved, but I vowed I wanted my children to know more outwardly what drives my faith and how important it is in my daily life. I want them to see me reading the Bible, attending Bible studies, volunteering at my church, and using faith-filled language on our Christmas cards each year, among other outward signs of my faith. However, I still wonder if this is enough to convey to my children and others what God means to me.
My cousin has inspired me to begin documenting my faith journey for my family as well. For now, let me share what I consider the top four things I really want my children to know from me about my spirituality. These are things that are inherent in me from my parents and grandparents, but also what I have grown to appreciate due to my own journey. This is the legacy I hope to leave with them, since it is the most important thing I can give them!
- God is #1. God created us and loves us just as we are and so we need to lovingly place Him in the center of our lives, even before spouses and children, and certainly before our own needs. Trust God completely; seek to know and obey His will.
- Pray daily. Life is hard, even for Christians, but with God’s help we can get through anything. It requires taking time to talk to Him, ask for help, and praise and thank Him every day.
- Grow your faith. Relationships take work and it is important to learn more about God constantly, even the same Bible verses take on new meaning at different stages of our lives as God reveals more to us as we age.
- Love and forgive both yourself and others as God does. Life isn’t fulfilling without both.
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Copyright 2020 Colleen Mallette
About the Author
Colleen lives in Ohio and is the proud mother of three young adults. She loves being a full-time stay-at-home mom and a part-time bookkeeper for her husband. She likes to read, write, scrapbook, and volunteer, and is excited to use her talents to share God’s love and the hope of His promises through CatholicMom.com. Colleen is co-author of “In Godʼs Hands, Miracles in the Lives of Moms” and blogs at Colleen's Contemplations.