Please keep our school staff and students in your prayers, as another school year begins. I am proud of Wauwatosa Catholic: it provides a wonderful education through its International Baccalaureate and Catholic curriculums.
Sometimes parents, and especially grandparents, ask me what they should do when the younger generation is not going to church. While you might feel strongly that it is for their own good to do so, you cannot force them. Therefore, shaming or coercing is not
In our first reading, Joshua gives us a good example of what to do: freedom and example. He doesn’t lecture the Israelites, he doesn’t shame them, he simply tells them that they are free to decide whether or not they will be true to the Covenant. But then he adds, “as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” He will give good example: he and his family will faithfully follow the Lord.
The most important thing you can do in this situation is to be a good role model, showing your children and grandchildren how fulfilling it is to live Gospel values. They KNOW what you believe; you don’t have to tell them. But they need to see you living it out in a meaningful, life-giving way.
I don’t mean simply going to Mass, receiving the sacraments, saying prayers in the home, etc. Those things are a first step in good example, but the next steps are crucial: does living your faith give meaning to your life? Does it enable you to be forgiving, compassionate, and at peace with all? Does it help you not to judge others harshly? Does it help you to be generous and giving of your time, talent, and treasure to help others?
If your children and grandchildren see a loving, faith-filled person who is happy and at peace, they will be attracted. You have done your best: the rest is God’s work.
The words of St. Francis of Assisi are relevant here and they can be our Church sign of the week: Preach the Gospel at all times and, if necessary, use words!