This morning my fifth grandchild entered the world. Yes, it is an occasion of joy, but it is also an occasion of some sorrow and some depression. Anytime a new life enters the world, this is a joyful thing as God has created another being in which He can flourish. But therein lies the sadness and depression.
The sadness and depression comes from the feeling I have inside because I did not raise my children to be good Catholics and not even particularly believers in God. Of those five grandchildren, only one has been baptized in the Catholic Church. Now, anyone who reads this blogs regularly knows, I don’t try to convert anyone to Catholicism, I feel the first step is just getting people to believe that Jesus is their savior and that there is a heaven and we all should try really hard to get there, but I am Catholic and feel my grand children should be too.
It was late i my life, although I suppose fifty something isn’t really that late, that I really began to embrace my faith. Unfortunately this means that my ex and I really didn’t raise our kids with a whole lot of church. In fact I can honestly say we may have been anti-religious at times not blasphemous or heretical, but not real pro-religion. (The reason why is for a discussion for another day) Now, I feel that my grandchildren will be the second generation who have not been properly taught about God.
This is hard for me. I know I can’t force my children or my grandchildren to believe. They have to come to it on their own, much like I did after 30 something years away, but I ask myself the question: What if they don’t? I realize it is a choice they have to make, but unfortunately if they aren’t taught, how can they make an informed choice? In my case I was taught when I was young about God and the Catholic Church, although admittedly I didn’t remember much, But it was my choice to reject my faith, knowing, in theory at least, what I was rejecting. If my grandchildren don’t know what it is, they can’t make an informed decision on whether to believe or not to believe. In order to make any decision, we have to be informed.
The way the world is today, they won’t get that information at school, unless they go to a Catholic school, which I don’t see happening. In fact with the suppression of religious freedom in this country, there is a good chance there won’t be any Catholic schools for them to go to soon. We are removing God from our lives and this is a serious problem, and yes, I blame myself to a certain extent for letting that happen.
So what do I do? After Mass today I spoke with Deacon Steve, which in and of itself is something quite out of the ordinary for me, about this. It is kind of funny that he told me what I already pretty much knew. He said our religion and our faith is a choice. We can’t force anyone to it, they have to choose to believe. AS much as we would like to be able to drag people kicking and screaming to Mass, it won’t happen. He then went on to say the only thing we can do is lie our faith and let others see us doing that.
And I couldn’t agree more. I think about that exact thing every day. How can I live my life as a good Catholic? A good Christian? By living as Jesus wants us to, to live by His teachings. We need to read His words, read the Gospels, and live them. We can’t pick and choose which parts of what Jesus teaches us we wan’t to live, We have to live it all. And then our children, our grandchildren, and all those who know us and meet us will see this, and that my friends is how we will get them to choose.
That is how we can best share the Word of God, by living it everyday. I admit that in the last two years since I have found my way back to the Catholic faith, that I have an inner peace I never had before. Because I know trust in Jesus, I don’t worry about the same things I use to worry about. I know that no matter what happens I will be okay, Jesus has my back. Does that mean I just skate through life? No. But I know now that He is there when things get tough, and through Him I will get by. My life has been hard the last six or seven months, but when I get down I pray and Jesus lets me know things will be okay, and I am still here, struggling but still here and I will get through it.
What is different now in my life is that when I make choices now, Jesus lets me know what is the right thing to do. Well that isn’t correct, He has always told me what I should do, I just never listened to Him. And as I think about my new little granddaughter, I know Jesus will guide me on how to bring Him into their lives. And I also know He will tell me it is their choice in the end, I hope they will make the right one.