How do we pass on our faith to young people?

Virginia Ryan

How can we pass on our Catholic spiritual heritage to young people? Perhaps the real question is: how can I develop and enrich my own Catholic spiritual heritage so that I have a treasure worth inheriting, writes Virginia Ryan.

I started to think about things in a different way.

It is my children who have led me to a deeper and deeper relationship with God and with the Church. In truth, my children have been the primary spiritual teachers of my life – more than any bible, Church sacrament, minister or theologian. My children have taught me everything I know about the spiritual life: prayer, God, Jesus and the Church.

The birth of my first child utterly changed me. There was no preparation or warning or knowledge that equipped me for the event. I was taken into the wilderness where I was totally transformed. In the wilderness I began to understand who God is, who I truly am, and what really counts in my life.

So, what is it that my children have taught me?

1. I can’t give what I don’t have. I was aware that I needed to put the focus on myself and start investing in my own faith life and my own spiritual journey. My children were watching and listening and learning about how I saw the world and how I responded to love and suffering. What was I doing? They could see right through me: my faltering faith, my critical faith and my fabulous faith. We are the children of God, we are the Body of Christ, and we are the Church. It is not out there; it is in here.

2. In the demands and messiness of family life my children taught me to ask the really big questions. What is my purpose in life? Who would I die for? How do I want to live my life? What do I want them to inherit from me?

FULL STORY How do we pass on our faith to young people?

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