One spring day in 2012 I was listening to a Cd of the Catholic apologist, Jeff Cavins, and it hit me like a TON OF BRICKS when he said, "your children are going to live for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever" (I even counted-he said "forever" 7 times!). He continued, "they will either live forever in heaven or in hell, and God gave them to you to take care of." When I heard Jeff say that my kids could live forever in hell, that was a sobering idea for me. I honestly had never thought about the possibility of my children spending eternity in hell, but that day I did and the horrendous, excruciatingly painful and gut-wretching thought made me begin to take my children's spiritual lives much more seriously! God said to me loud and clear, "Hey it is time, there is work to be done, your two children, the ones I have given to you to take care of, I want them to be with me in eternity, it is your job to put things into place now on earth. There is so much you can do to lay the groundwork for their path to eternal life in heaven with me!"
Up until that point my husband and I had done quite a bit to raise our children in a Catholic home and to believe in God. Both of our children were baptized as infants, they have both received their First Communuon and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We have sent them to Catolic schools since kindergarten, we attend mass every week, we pray before dinner and at bedtime etc. I felt we were doing a pretty good job of raising our kids in a spiritual environment but God wanted more! That day God impressed on me that it was my husband's and my responsibility to continue to seek out new ways to insure that our kids will spend eternity in heaven.
I vividly remember the day I listened to that Cd and these words for the first time, I was painting my son's bedroom baseball theme. He LOVED to play baseball at the time so when we switched his theme from a toddler design room to a "grown up" boy room, the consensus was unanimous-A Minnesota Twins decor it would be!
The Cd continued on the theme of prudence, a word I had not used often. Jeff Cavins described prudence as looking at the end goal (my children spending eternity in heaven) then backing up from the end goal and making decisions today that aim at that end goal becoming reality.
The very next day I inquired with our church on how my son could become an alter server at mass and how I could become a reader/proclaimer and distribute Holy Communion. These were small steps that I could take to integrate our family more into our church, our parish and the mass. It took about three months for my son to be trained in as an alter-server and me as a proclaimer and a Eucaristic Minister. It was and continues to be exciting for my son to alter serve (now he trains new servers in). I still get nervous to read at mass and to distribute communion. I leave my comfort zone each time I am scheduled to do either ministry but at the same time it is so exciting and spiritually moving to participate in the mass! I cannot explain the power I feel all around me when I am on the alter reading God’s Word or distributing Holy Communion , all that I can say is it must be I can say is it must be the Holy Spirit! Three years later our daughter is now an alter server and our son has become an usher-which was his own doing!
Since that early spring day when God called upon me to step it up a notch in terms of laying the framework for our children to spend eternity in heaven, nearly every weekend our family is somehow involved in the mass. My husband is completely supportive and I think I am safe to say he is proud that his children and wife are involved in the mass.
But my search for ways to lay the framework for my children’s eternal well-being did not stop there. After much prayer I felt God wanted our family to invite our priest over for dinner. This actually took about two years occur. I brought the idea up to my husband and he was open to it but then I got cold feet and tabled the idea for a while. I always made the excuse that the timing was not right.
Meanwhile there was a transition of priests can in our parish. I immediately felt I knew our new priest because he reminded me of my dad in that he is a proud Irish Catholic and his demeanor and appearance are similar to my dad. I began to feel God weighing on my mind that it was time to invite Father Mike to our home for dinner. This would be another step I could take to expose our children and ourselves to “a glimpse of heaven”.
towards laying the in that he to children spending heaven in eternity is getting to know our wonderful priest more personally. Our family has invited him to dinner which he has accepted and recently he joined our family at a play that my son was in. Our priest is a positive and powerful influence on our kids (and on us) and I am so happy he has become more of friend to our family than a ‘mysterious’ and ‘strict’ man which is how I used to envision priests as a child.
To be continued…
Theresa G. is fascinated by the topics of God, spiritually and the Catholic Church. As her faith and knowledge about these topics grow, her desire to write about them grows as well. Maybe you will be able to relate to one of her articles and maybe they will affect you in a positive way!