Ask a Carmelite Sister
I have a question to ask you. I see a bleak future ahead of us in our country. I grieve over the loss of our traditional American values, slipping away one by one. What kind of a country am I handing over to my children? What kind of advice, help, support, and tools can I give them that they may become and remain Godly persons of integrity and high moral character. Am I asking too much to want this for them?
Thank you for your heart-wrenching question. I can almost feel your tension and hear your words as they are spoken in a voice filled with concern. And, yes, I do have a response to your question, because I have been asking the same question.
My simple answer comes straight from my heart. It is an entirely spiritual answer, based on our Catholic faith. Maybe my thoughts and reflections might seem too simplistic or not practical. But I assure you that they reflect 2,000+ years of Christian experience. That’s a lot of years!
- First of all, understand that you are not alone. God’s very presence is within you. In Him, you “live and move and have your very being.” His angels surround you, especially your guardian angel. You are safe under Our Lady’s mantle. And so are your children.
- The single, biggest, most important thing you can do you for your children is to make sure that they receive the sacrament of Baptism. This is the bedrock, the foundation, the source, of God’s saving grace. Baptism fills your children’s souls with grace, with the presence of God, with the virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
- See to it that your children are confirmed and that they understand what that means – that the Holy Spirit comes to them in a special way at Confirmation and releases His powerful gifts and fruits within their souls. These gifts are supernatural, and because of that, they can “win” over any dark forces your children may come up against during their lives. They have within them the supernatural gifts of God. This is HUGE.
- Prepare your children to go to their first Confession and to receive their first Holy Communion. Help them understand that it is important and such a blessing to have these two sacraments. The power of these sacraments cannot be put into any kind of word.
- Pray for your children to receive the great gift of discernment. The more I work with the children, teens, and young adults, the more I understand the confusion and juxtaposition of good and evil in our society. Catholic religious objects are worn by people who are singing sacrilegious songs. Songs make a mockery of our traditional values. Our belief system is under attack. Our children need the gift of discernment in order to separate out the good from the evil in what they hear and see. Yes, yes, pray for the gift of discernment for your whole family, especially your children.
- Use your own home to pass along your faith to your children. Place a crucifix, statue or picture of Our Lady in your home, along with books and media of appropriate age levels in various sections of your home to share with the children. Pray grace before and after meals. Attend Mass together. If possible, make the time to pray the Rosary together, or at least a decade.
In John 4:10, we read the following words spoken by Jesus, “If you only knew the gift of God.” I would like to repeat these words to you today, “If you only knew the gift of God.” It is this gift of God, this wonderful, life-changing relationship with Him, and blessed moments of real discernment in His presence that will give each of your children the tools to embrace, learn about, and stand firm in their faith.
Yes, I cannot emphasize enough how clearly this has come to me. Pass this along to your friends. They are called to learn more about true discernment and pass on this sacred tool to their children.
Don’t underestimate yourself as parent. The same God “Who has begun this good work in you (the raising of your children) will complete it unto the day of Christ Jesus.”
PRAYER FOR OUR CHILDREN
Father, we come to you today with open hearts and open hands. Help us to understand that we are not alone, that you are with us at every moment. Please stir up the graces of their Catholic baptism and confirmation within the souls of our children. Give all of us a greater understanding of and love for the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist.
I especially ask for the great grace of the gift of discernment for my children that they may distinguish in their very souls good from evil and pierce through the confusing morals and values of our society to the truth.
I also ask that our home become a sacred place, filled with your sacred Presence. May the holy angels surround our home, and may we all be covered by Our Lady’s mantle. We ask this through Christ Our Lord.
Until next time,
Sister Laus Gloriae, OCD
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