posted on October 10, 2012 13:05
As we’re on the Eve of this Year of Faith, called by our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, hopefully we’re all reflecting on what that should mean for us and our families and how we might celebrate it. A year is a long time – and it can be easy to get really excited at the beginning and then find ourselves being distracted by all the things that demand our attention and slowly begin to lose focus. Like other “New Year’s Eve’s”, it’s also tempting to make big resolutions – maybe going to classes to learn more about our faith or getting more involved in our parish, etc. These are great ideas, but most New Year’s resolutions don’t last very long.
I’d like to suggest that, rather than focusing on activities that might take us away from our families more than we already are, or which we might tire of after a short while, we make some resolutions to either start or re-emphasize some simple habits of faith in our own families. Good habits – ones that build virtues – will make the Year of Faith not only come alive but will actually build it into our lives and our souls. Here are a couple of practices to consider:
1) Set aside time to pray together as a family – devotions like the Divine Mercy Chaplet, a novena, the Rosary or some other form of regular prayer in the evening. If you can’t manage it every night, try for every Sunday evening. After all, at the heart of faith is God’s grace. We should make that “call” for his grace a regular part of our family lives to ground our faith, in addition to our reason and our activities.
2) Help your children recognize God’s presence in their lives. Take a moment at dinner each evening to share “Where did I feel God’s presence today?” or “Where did I see God at work in my life today?” Maybe it’s something as simple as finding something that was lost after praying about it. Maybe it’s the moment of grace that caused us to stop before we said something mean. Maybe it’s the goal we scored or running into someone we needed to meet.
3) Use your refrigerator as a “Facebook” or other favorite social networking site Encourage your children to find neat quotes about God or faith and cover your refrigerator with them. They get to see their handiwork on the refrigerator, and it’s a great starting point for dinner discussion. What was the new “post” for today? Who posted it? Why was it important?
Habits are so much more powerful than a momentary flash of enthusiasm. Habits tell us what’s really important in our lives. Let’s use this Year of Faith to develop habits of faith that will serve us and our families all our lives.
John Heithaus is a deacon in Missouri, as well as a proud father and grandfather.