“Grandma, I know how Jesus died,” a grandson told his grandmother when they were in a nearby park one weekend while his parents were out of town. The grandma was all ears because the parents of this grandson have by all accounts abandoned their Catholic faith and have not had their children baptized.
He continued, “My friend (neighbor) told me. They have one of those things you have on your fireplace,” referring to the crucifix. His grandmother said to him, “Yes, Jesus died on a cross for us, but He became alive again after three days.” At this, the boy’s eyes widened and asked, “Where is He?
How common do you think are there children being raised by Catholic parents who do not know Jesus either?
It is Necessary to Use Words
In the domestic church, parents as its spiritual leaders are the first proclaimers of the Good News to their children. Christian parents enjoying a personal relationship with Jesus and having an interior and spiritual life must announce to their children the Gospel and help their children to enter into that love relationship with God because through their Baptism, they have become children of God.
First, there must be knowledge before love. One can not love someone he doesn’t know. Because “faith comes from what is heard and what is heard comes through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17), we use our words to tell our children about God’s love; we read them Scripture to introduce them to the Word of God; we share with them our personal faith stories and experiences of God’s love. No matter their age, children understand love and have the capacity to respond to love.
A Familiar Voice
In Lumen Fidei, Pope Benedict XVI explains that through the act of hearing, faith grows. He mentions that by becoming familiar with a voice, one begins to know the speaker and a personal relationship develops. When we call our children, they know our voices, they know it is us who is calling them. They respond because of our relationship that is naturally there and we have a bond built on love. Let us help our children to be accustomed to hearing the voice of God by teaching them how to pray; prayer as a conversation with God – having both components of talking and listening.
Together with them let us tune our ears to hear the words of Jesus by reading Scripture with them and sharing what the Church teaches about the Christian life. Let us not fill our homes with noise so we can be comfortable with silence and be disposed to hear the inspirations of the Holy Spirit. God will speak to us and our children when we are willing to listen.
Knowing Our Father
So where is He? Jesus says in John 14:18, “I shall not leave you orphans, I shall come to you.” Again in John 14:23, ” . . . “Whoever loves me will keep my word and my Father will love him and we shall come to him and make a home in him.” How will our children know they are not orphans?
Where is he? That is a question of an orphan looking for his father. A child who knows his father asks, “Where are you?”