As Catholics we believe that it is our responsibility to instill the Faith of the Holy Mother Church when raising our children. We have them baptized as infants and we take them to Mass, where they are in the very presence of the One who created them. We teach them their prayers and read to them the old stories of the bible. We teach them about the baby Jesus…and how ‘He loves me…this I know’...We help them prepare for their First Holy Communion and take them to Church for Confession…We try to help them form a love for the Catholic Faith and the Truth that only God’s Holy Church can provide. But sometimes, that it not enough.
Recently, I have done some thinking about this. I know families where one or two of the grown children are very devout, they live and breath the faith, and yet their siblings have fallen so far that they are not even able to recognize the Truth from the lies of the world. What has happened? Did the parents somehow fail to instruct the ones who have fallen? Did God restrict His gift of Faith to those who are not practicing? No, that’s ridiculous…(I know)…God gives each one of us the gift of Faith...at baptism we are all joined to His family, we become a child of His and He loves us all the same. God does not favor one of us over the other…that is just not how God works.
As a once fallen away Catholic…I know the stronghold the world can have on your soul…your self worth…it can be miserable…measuring your value through the eyes of the earth…after all; without God…we are but dirt… Yet God calls each one of us…every moment of everyday, He is searching out His lost sheep…would a shepherd not leave the ninety nine to search out the one lost sheep who has strayed?
Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Luke 15: 4-7
As baptized children of God we all called to follow Him. Sure, there are still areas in the world that haven’t been exposed to the Truth, or areas where it is very difficult to be a Christian,especially in Muslim countries where Christians are killed on a regular basis. And I am sure there are homes in this once Christian nation, where children are being raised without the benefit of being taught about Jesus and His saving grace,where the Truth gets distorted with the lies…(we need to pray for them..) but there are so many who know, and still refuse to follow…these are the ones we especially need to pray for to help them find their way home…
I guess, what we need to realize about the ‘gift of faith’…is that, as God’s created; and baptized; we each have a responsibility to follow God’s calling for us. He created each of us out of love, and wants us with Him….all of us are made with the capacity to be saints...the gift is there…all we have to do is allow the Good Shepherd to scoop us up from our sinfulness and throw us over His shoulders and carry us home to our Mother…the Holy Catholic Church… where we can be prepared and guided on how to live our lives on earth so we can be with Him forever in Heaven.