The late great Rich Mullins wrote a song called Creed. The chorus goes, “And I believe what I believe is what makes me what I am, I did not make it, no it is making me, It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man.”
When I came into the Church at the Easter Vigil 2016, I stood before Father and the congregation and said, “I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church teaches, believes, and proclaims to be revealed by God.”
As Catholics what we believe is not just a matter of intellectual assent. It is our life, our truth, our practice. Our faith informs everything from how we worship to what we eat and everything in between.
The truth of this is especially encouraging in light of “faith formation” now happening in homes and families instead of in classrooms.
It can be daunting to be sure, because our habit has been to drop children off to class, pick them up an hour later and check the “religious ed” box off our to-do lists. Sometimes parents and grandparents can feel like they are not equipped, do not know enough about the faith, do not have the resources, or are afraid of answering tough questions.
But, here’s the thing—really the only thing—you need to keep in mind: living the Faith is forming you in Faith. The best way to get a handle on what the Church teaches and how it can bring salvation to our souls is to live the faith. Here are some basics:
1) Go to Mass. I know in the time of pandemic and distancing this can be challenging. But going to Mass is the number one thing you can do to form yourself and your children in the Faith. The catechism says that the Eucharist is ”the source and summit of the Faith.” The Eucharist is what we all aim towards and it is from the Eucharist that we all draw our strength. The very act of going to Mass is formative. So, find yourself in the Church as often as you can.
2) Use the Church‘s Liturgical Calendar. On our home page we list the major feasts, fasts, and holy days of the Church. Observe them as a family. Sometimes it can mean an extra Mass or going to Adoration. Sometimes it might be an extra bedtime prayer, fasting, or a special meal prepared together. So many beautiful ways to keep up with Holy Mother Church. Her calendar is a great place to start. Observing the liturgical cycle with the Church is a great way to feel and breathe the beautiful rhythm of Catholicism.
3) Say prayers as a family. If this hasn’t been your custom, start small. You do not have to start with the whole Rosary every night. Start with a small doable prayer routine and let it grow the grace in your heart and home for more. For example:
Grace before meals
Divine Mercy Chaplet (which is shorter than the Rosary, so often a big hit with children **wink, wink**)
A quick prayer in the car when leaving on a big trip
Make the sign of the cross on your children’s heads as you say goodbye in the mornings or at bedtime to bless them to sleep.
And be encouraged that whether it happens in a classroom or around your dining room table, you are being formed in faith when you direct your heart to the Lord and His Church. So many simple acts of faith are what actually form us in our Faith.
If you need resources or have questions, the office of Faith Formation at the parish is always open to you. Send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org