Pass it on

Every once in a while a lovely conversation with a friend or acquaintance can strike up about our experiences when we were small; amazingly, a lot of these discussions can often lead to one’s recollection of our childhood faith. And what I found specifically interesting is how people fondly recall memories of how their faith was actually lived every day - and not just once a week to Sunday Mass. But sadly enough, when finishing the conversation, I find that some people aren’t carrying on or, rather, don’t have time to keep up those ol’ religious habits. And why is that? I mean, if the majority of the religious experiences were genuinely good and are reflected upon with endearment, then why can it seem to some that their once childhood faith just isn’t real for their present-day living?

I would expect that if we decide not to practice what was taught to us as children then we would no longer recognise the life-giving nourishment that these once cherished practices offered. 

Are faith and tradition losing their reality to us because we can’t see faith and tradition as part of our lives which makes them seem more like a waste of time? If we can’t see God Himself in our neighbour next-door does our Creator become out-of-sight and therefore out-of-mind? Maybe we feel we can worry about Him…later.

Recently I attended a seminar and an amazing speaker, Frances Hogan, stressed to us a piece of Scripture - John 10:10

‘I came so that they might have life and have it abundantly.’

And what Frances was stressing in her talk was that we have to open our hearts to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in order to have life to its fullest. We can receive all the help in the world to try and get to know the Lord, but if we don’t invite Him into our hearts then it’s not going to happen. It’s a decision we have to make – to be open to the Trinity and ask for help. Likewise, in order for faith and tradition to mean anything to us we need to be open in order to have life to its fullest.

I suppose the fact is that the faith and tradition of Catholicism won’t be passes on if it’s not being practiced within the home. Yes, Mass is on Sunday, but that is one day out of a seven-day week. We need not just to believe but to live our faith. And to live it is to ‘Just do it’ each day we breathe. I’m not saying one has to bust out four Rosaries a day or get to daily Mass (although these are great ways to live our beliefs); but I am saying we can do little things that will take each of us a long way. For instance, daily we could:

  • Each morning when we open our eyes, even before we get out of bed - offer the day ahead of us to the Lord and Our Lady, so that they may guide and protect us,
  • Read a Psalm, Proverb or small piece of scripture in the morning before we head out the door, and reflect upon it throughout the day,
  • Say the Angelus at noon and at six o’clock,
  • Keep a holy water font full of holy water at your front door – and actually use it to bless yourself whenever you leave the house,
  • Make a Crucifix easily visible in your house,
  • Hang a religious picture on the wall – maybe of your favourite saint,
  • Wear a Scapular,
  • Memorise a wee prayer, and say it every day

Now these are just suggestions to start living our faith to accompany our going to Mass each Sunday. And even if we only do just one of the things listed above we are still doing more. But opening our hearts to God and living our faith and tradition is what is going to make a difference for us. And it’s not only a chance for ourselves but for our children; for if they see us with a living faith then it will be passed on as it has been for over the past 2000 years.

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