Some years ago I tried to learn Spanish as an adult. There were Hispanic people in my parish, and in a moment of fervor I thought I could be a better priest for them if I could speak in their language.
So I called a priest friend in the area who was fluent in the language and asked if he’d be willing to teach me conversational Spanish. He was delighted to help. He gave me a beginner’s book, and we set a schedule to meet twice a week.
The short story is that I was a total failure. “Tim, your pronunciation is good but vocabulary and sentence structure is terrible,” said my tutor. We did this for a couple months – – – I could say the words, but I had no comprehension of what I was saying.
So . . . I quit. I couldn’t take it anymore. It wasn’t my tutor. He was very patient with me. You know why I quit? I couldn’t stand feeling so stupid. He’d ask me something in Spanish, I’d have to answer “no comprendo”. I just couldn’t take the feeling of being so inept.
I think many Catholics have that same problem when it comes to speaking their Faith to friends or family. First of all, it’s not a subject we naturally talk about in casual conversation. Secondly, Catholics are famous for “doing” their faith, not talking about it. “Get to mass this Sunday?”, “Yeah, I’m all set.” That’s all the “God talk” we need.
But what happens when we are charged with the responsibility of passing our faith on to our children? We can’t presume they “get it” simply by going to mass or making their sacraments.
Certainly you know enough English to correct your child when they say they “ain’t got no . . .” Or “Gimme some”. Parents, you’re quick to correct them because you know the adult way of speaking and you want them to know it too.
So what do you say when child or grandchild asks you, “Dad, do you believe in God?” “Of course I do dear,” but then the follow up, “Why do you believe?”.
Are you ready for that? Are you looking forward to that? St. Peter tells us to “always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you the reason for your hope (faith).” 1Peter 3:15
So get ready mom, dad; what do you say when your child asks:
- How do we know there’s a God?
- What’s the Bible? What’s the deal with the Jews? Do you believe in miracles? What’s heaven like?
- Is that really Jesus in Holy Communion? How does that happen?
- Did Jesus really rise from the dead? How’s that?!
- What’s the Holy Spirit? Did Jesus say “love your enemy”? How?!
- Do you pray mom/dad? How do you pray?
Get the picture? This is “Church time in your home”. It’s a precious chance to engage your child in something other than homework, TV or video games. You need to be ready.
Feel like I did with the Spanish? Holy Trinity would like to help. Sunday, April 3 at 11:30 am. in Murphy Hall (gym) we’re having a pot luck luncheon and a 90 minute presentation by Michael Theisen (a nationally known Faith Director for Families and Youth). He’s going to help with the “Duh Factor” so many families experience about their faith.
Parents – – – – You owe it to the kids and yourself. BE THERE.