“It was revealed this week that, for the first time in its history, Harvard University, which had been founded for religious purposes … has admitted a freshman class in which atheists and agnostics outnumber professed Christians and Jews.”
Did that make you pause and read it again? Did it make you sad, mad or upset? I had all those emotions when I read it for the first time.
This statement has been heavily weighing on my heart since I read it on Thursday, September 18th in an article by Bishop Robert Barron, Auxiliary of Los Angeles. Incoming freshman, not graduating seniors from college. Incoming freshman, those sons and daughter that are leaving our homes for the first time to spread their wings as young adults. Incoming freshman, fresh from our homes where they should have received a foundation of faith.
I’m sure the rest of Bishop’s article was also informative and enlightening, but I still can’t get past the first sentence. Every day since September 18th, when I read those words, I ask myself, what can I do better. I have worked in Faith Formation for 14 years, these atheists and agnostics could have been in homes of families I ministered too. This is not a Catholic thing, it’s a faith thing…or a lack of faith thing.
I have to be part of the solution. I have to help parents provide the tools to foster faith. No matter how I plan and execute faith formation, the 30 hours a year I see the children is not enough to form their faith. As parents we have to model and mentor. We have to set rituals and traditions. We work hard to form our children’s social and moral characteristics. We, together, need to mold their souls. Those souls are yearning for God, where they belong!
Our days of forming our children pass quickly. They grow, it seems, over night. We blink and they are moving out and leaving us, which causes parents to think of what did we not pass on to them.
Faith…at least basic understanding of the Golden Rule, “do unto others they way you want them to do unto you” if practiced daily shows children the Golden Rule in action. We need to bring God into our homes and into our daily lives. No…let me correct that. God is already in our homes and daily lives. We need to open our hearts and recognize His work in our lives. He wants us to know Him and He wants to be in relationship with us.
How do we change that statistic?
How do we take responsibility for making the world a more peaceful place?
How do we instill in our children that God, Allah, I Am, Yahweh, whatever your tradition calls Him, freely give us LOVE?
First we can pray!
I have seen the power of prayer in my own life and in my work. Prayer makes a difference! Any type of prayer and any time for prayer works…just pray.
We can live as examples. Living our lives with our brothers and sisters in peace, compassion, and mercy shows our youth how they should live.
Have a missionary heart. As we encounter people on the streets, in restaurants, at work and in our own neighborhood, share the joy of faith with them. Reach out to those in need and give of your time, give of your talents, and give of your treasure, you will never regret a moment you spent helping others.
Love. Love is the foundation for everything. Share Love. Speak of Love. Show Love. Be Love. priority
“Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13
I see God’s grace and mission for me…to help others, especially the families I minister to, to develop a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.