Saturday, August 18, 2007

Let the Children Come

Today's gospel contains some valuable advice on how to deal with kids. Bring them to Jesus.

Here's a very practical exposition of that advice from Benedict XVI's address on occasion of the Fifth World Meeting of Families to Valencia (Spain), 8 July 2006:

"The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said, 'Let the children come to me'

"Father and mother have said a complete "yes" in the sight of God, which constitutes the basis of the sacrament which joins them together. Likewise, for the inner relationship of the family to be complete, they also need to say a "yes" of acceptance to the children whom they have given birth to or adopted, and each of which has his or her own personality and character.

In this way, children will grow up in a climate of acceptance and love, and upon reaching sufficient maturity, will then want to say "yes" in turn to those who gave them life… Christ has shown us what is always be the supreme source of our life and thus of the lives of families: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one had greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends" (Jn 15:12-13).

The love of God himself has been poured out upon us in Baptism. Consequently, families are called to experience this same kind of love, for the Lord makes it possible for us, through our human love, to be sensitive, loving and merciful like Christ. Together with passing on the faith and the love of God, one of the greatest responsibilities of families is that of training free and responsible persons.

For this reason the parents need gradually to give their children greater freedom, while remaining for some time the guardians of that freedom. If children see that their parents - and, more generally, all the adults around them - live life with joy and enthusiasm, despite all difficulties, they will themselves develop that profound "joy of life" which can help them to overcome wisely the inevitable obstacles and problems which are part of life.

Furthermore, when families are not closed in on themselves, children come to learn that every person is worthy of love, and that there is a basic, universal brotherhood which embraces every human being."

Ok... so JustMe suggested I ask a question once in a while to see if I can up the level of commentary on the blog.

Here's your question:

How do YOU bring your children to Jesus, especially when sometimes it feels more like "dragging them kicking and screaming to Jesus"?


JustMe said...

WTH?? No comments yet? Grrr.....

:-) I did bring them kicking and screaming to Mass with me for years--but the kicking and screaming part came in when I was the sole post-Mass coffee host(ess).. they really begged off after 3 years, and I let it go .. fortunately, others picked up that ball.

The kids know that I have often taught R.E., worked in RCIA, in the Church offices themselves, in the food pantry, on committees and teams, and out in the service community in jobs. They knew they could bring anyone home, even to live here. They know my reason. They don't much agree. But there's St. Monica to appeal to, isn't there? Meanwhile, life has knocked on all their doors and sometimes banged, and they have turned to God and/or the Church in response.

There is also Mary to whom one may consecrate one's children and other loved ones. Sometimes, it's the best we can do. We didn't pray together, except grace before every meal (and of course, Mass, before some stopped going).

I dunno, Phil.

Phil B. said...

One thing I started 10 years ago and still do- when my sons are with me- I give them a blessing before bed- nothing fancy- just the sign of the cross. But it still seems to do something- if only to reinforce how important God is. My older son has always given me one too... which is kinda neat.

JustMe said...

That does do something. It says, "I love you so much, I'm wrapping you up in God." I'm glad the older son gives you a blessing, too. That is so sweet.