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Faith is often caught as much as it is taught!

A reflection for Catechetical Sunday, September 15, 2013
It was a fun and inspiring visit last Saturday. Two children played on the floor creating funny videos of each other; the adults conversed about everything and anything as the children pretended not to be listening; there was music and TV in the background, and there was laughter, some chaos – and much joy in this well-lived in home. In the midst of it all the dog was vying for attention and a share of anyone’s snack. The entire scene spoke of people loving, valuing, and respecting one another.
Caroline, when I suggested you join us at the 5 p.m. Mass you responded, “These two don’t look like they are moving. I’d never get them dressed on time and, anyhow, Deirdre is at a birthday party.” I was reminded that including everyone in the family as you go to Sunday Eucharist is important and dressing appropriately teaches the children that Church is something special–it’s different from running track (they were still in track clothes from an earlier event) or hanging out. These are values that are “caught” more than they are taught.
Matt, when you said you hoped we got Fr. D because of his great homilies, you touched my heart and made me proud. That you are concerned that your family and especially the kids hear a good homily speaks of the value you place on nourishing your spirit for the week ahead. Not many young men and women your age even know what a homily is or how it can help them live the faith they profess in their lives the coming week. You are an exceptional Catholic couple and family. Your kids will “catch” this fire.
Caroline, when you spoke in front of your children about your desire to someday join a mission effort with the doctors and nurses with whom you work, you were teaching those children about connecting our faith with our lives. You may need to tell them more directly that this is what the Gospel asks of all of us, to share our gifts and talents with others. They get so many other messages from our culture that at times we need to be direct about our faith and maybe even ask them what they think of it.
We are all called to do that every day within our families, neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces, but some of us are called, nudged, or invited to do that with the poor in our own country and in other lands. Whatever comes from that conversation, it is a teaching moment for your family. Being willing to talk about and learn more about our faith will continue to make it so. Sharing your faith with your family will give them ideas as well.
Wouldn’t it be a wonderful “teaching moment” and moment of “New Evangelization” this September if in every home every parent had one conversation with his or her spouse and children about how they live their faith in everyday life? Just a conversation: no expectations and no right or wrong answers — just some faith-sharing!
Sister Honora is the Assistant Director at RENEW and a Dominican Sister of Amityville, NY.

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