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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Faith of My Family

The thought that my own family is not of one faith is heart-breaking, so I usually don't dwell on it too much. The kids are growing up, however, and the occasion to think about that comes up more often lately. When we go to Mass, I am unable to offer to my God a family that is united in faith and worship. When I receive our Lord in the Eucharist, I am saddened that my wife does not. How will my children grow up? How firm will their grasp of God be? Already they ask me "how come Mama doesn't make the sign of the cross?" "How come she doesn't join in communion?" The sign itself is not a major concern, but the imperfect picture being formed in their minds is. For how does this generation regard the faith, when their parents are ambiguous, diverse in their convictions? Many grow up unconvinced of any importance attached to faith. Their motto might be that some do and some don't. They might be told that there is no absolute, exclusive faith. Dad is a Catholic, Mom is Evangelical, both are Christians and that's all that matters. But I worry because they can see that the roads we took do not run side by side. There are serious differences. What are the odds that, in their minds, pluralism merges with ambiguity, where any road becomes no road after all? I worry, and I shudder to consider how the lack of unity of faith in this family may translate to an anemic witness, one that could leave my children unimpressed by any regard for Christ after all. For if our lives are to give witness to who Christ is, then our contradictory faiths might teach them that no one really knows, so how could we expect them to? Ask me how Christ feels about his followers divided amongst themselves: the Catholics, the Orthodox, the Protestants and their thousands of denominations underneath. All I can tell you is how a father feels over this family divided.


Christine said...

I understand the anxiety you feel. The only recourse I've had is to prayer, intense prayer, relying most especially on the Blessed Mother. The Rosary has been a powerful help, demolishing spiritual strongholds of unbelief and doubt in family members.



Jeff Tan said...

Thank you. \

I also understand that part of the problem is my poor witness resulting from my own sinfulness. But I do understand that this work is not mine but the Holy Spirit's, and my best recourse is to get out of the way, although that also entails giving a better witness in my actions so as not to confuse. I long for the day when my wife starts asking questions about Catholicism. May the Holy Spirit speak up through me then.