[gtranslate] The Mission Beyond All Others - Eglise Catholique Saint James (Saint Jacques)

The Mission Beyond All Others

The Mission Beyond All Others

The sacred innocence of a child’s heart and soul are worth fighting for. There is no greater mission. These battles must be fought in our culture now more than ever. But there is an even more challenging battle to be faced if innocence and holiness in our children are to be protected—that battle is against ourselves. It is a more hidden, more vital, and also more winnable battle. Discouragement, indifference, and lukewarmness in us become a stumbling block to our children’s faith and salvation. We have a duty to remove these blocks for ourselves and others.

I hear the voice of St. Mother Teresa in my heart as I recall how she proclaimed everywhere that holiness is a simple duty—and that duty is for everyone. In these times it would be more accurate to say vital duty because the consequences for our children are not just that they would become tepid or less virtuous than we want them to be. The stakes are much higher. The consequences can be deadly to the soul, and sometimes even to the body. Parenting in grace is now, more than ever, a crucial responsibility.

People say in difficult times that the only thing that could help us now is an act of God. Holiness is an act of God! Parenting in these times demands holiness. Holiness makes God’s presence tangible. When a person is holy, their actions are directed by God. They become a channel of grace in the home, and the love in motion that results is life-changing for spouses and children. Active love in the home increases joy in everyone’s heart, and before you know it, home becomes a refuge of light, joy, and peace for everyone around you. Kids want to be there, and their friends want to be there too. This kind of holiness is not a matter of rigid religiosity that can sometimes be a soulless adherence to the rules of the faith. Rather, it becomes a holy obedience imbued with the joy of loving that St. Teresa of Calcutta spoke of. Holiness is animated love, an absorption of Divine life within us that seeps out into everyone around us. It directs us in the love that serves, gives, and lives in confident hope in God—a confidence that is caught most especially by our children.

We cannot preserve the purity and goodness of our little ones if we are not preserving it in ourselves. The pursuit of holiness calls down grace—the life of God in our souls that allows us to do the supernatural work of raising holy children. It is the mission that most people simply overlook as something too ordinary to be considered a calling. Yet personal holiness in a parent is the one essential mission ordained by God when each child was conceived—something important enough to be worthy of all-out pursuit.

We are often like watchmen dozing on the wall, allowing our children to be transformed by the invasion of the ever-present enemy. St. Peter writes, “Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). A holy parent lies in wait with vigilance and readiness for the lion that lies in wait for their children. Personal holiness is passionate participation in the redemption of our children. It is a glorious battle worth engaging! Our Lady was commissioned by God to crush the enemy’s head. She will be your lion spotter, and the power of the Blood and Water will be your weapon—the Rosary and the Mass sincerely embraced in the heart. We were made for these times, and for the holiness that is essential to this kind of parenting. We were made for this battle. We were made for this victory!

The Gospel tells us, “Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’ After he placed his hands on them, he went away” (Matthew 19:13–15). How could the children have encountered Jesus if they were not brought to Him? And why would parents seek Jesus’ blessing for their child if they were not convinced in themselves by their own encounter, of a deep belief in Him? Personal holiness leads a parent to an increased love and desire for the sacraments, for that encounter with Christ that changes everything. Each parent in possession of this love can then pour out that love of Christ on their children. Love begets love.

As a Catholic children’s author, I am a proponent of putting faith-inspiring books into the hands of parents to help them with their all-important mission of transmitting the faith. I have a strong belief that books about God should be as beautiful as possible. Beautiful art assists in instilling words of faith into the hearts of children.

Among many other things, Catholic children’s books can help parents transmit the faith to their children—but how can any parent pass on a faith that is not alive in their own hearts? As airline safety prescribes, when a flight is dangerous, parents must put their own oxygen mask on first. Apply the lifeline of Christ to yourself first, and then you will be able to share that lifeline with your child. 

Editor’s Note: The author’s new children’s book, When Jesus Speaks, is available from Sophia Institute Press as well as from the author’s website, Susan Joy Books.

Photo by Johnny McClung on Unsplash

Seeking the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary through prayer