the gift that keeps on giving

I’ve been thinking a lot about Religious Education lately. Our RE year starts after Labor Day and I just had a meeting with our Director of RE to talk about the coming year. I’ve got some new ideas I’m looking forward to trying out and as always, I’m so excited to usher in a young group of children to First Communion. Our church’s program has undergone some big changes in the past year and that’s exciting too.

As part of those changes we have a new logo and that’s one of things that is sparking my mind today. It says Faith First. The premise is that our job as catechists is to inspire a love of faith first. Above all the memorizing of prayers, the learning of Mass order, the understanding of church history is the simple thought that we should be sparking a love of our church, of God, of faith. That if we do nothing else besides nurture and grow a child’s faith, we have accomplished great things.

And here’s the thing – that’s how I feel about religion as a parent.

Religion is a gift that I give my children. I can’t control all the choices they will make as they grow but I can give them a foundation to help make those choices. I can’t control all the situations they will be in but I can give them a framework to understand the world around them. I can’t control the friends they pick but I can give them a set of core values that they can look for in their companions. I can’t promise that bad things will never happen but I can give them a place to turn for comfort and strength. I can give them faith.

Of all the things I do for my children, I truly believe that if I can light the fire of Christ inside of them, I will give them a gift to last a lifetime. It can be a fragile gift. It sometimes needs sheltering. It often needs to be fed to keep growing. It certainly needs to be put to practice. But if I get it started, it will be with them forever.

Faith first.

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