Every evening, my two oldest
kids take turns saying a prayer
before we eat dinner. Six-yearold
Alex tends toward short
and sweet, while Maddie, who is 10,
prefers more traditional prayers. Usually,
thatís fine. But sometimes it can
present a challenge.
ďMom, how does the Memorare
begin?Ē Maddie asked before a recent
dinner. She had mentioned her class
was learning it in school, but I thought
Iíd have some time to reacquaint myself
with the prayer before I was put on
I quickly shot my husband, Mark, a
panicked look, hoping he would remember
the opening lines of this long-ago-learned prayer. By the look on his
face, I could tell he was as stumped as
I wish I could say scenarios like this
one donít happen often in our home.
Unfortunately, they do.
But I also bet that weíre not alone. In
fact, judging from the frenzied discussions
among parents about what to do
at our daughterís First Reconciliation a
few years ago, I know Mark and I are
not alone. In fact, I imagine that if you
asked a handful of Catholics to name
the Beatitudes, 10 Commandments or
the works of mercy (which, by the way,
you can find in my September 2008
you might trip a few people up.
Itís also not just my kids who have
questions about the Catholic faith that
I canít always answer. My sister-in-law
who is not Catholic often has questions
about certain Catholic traditions,
practices and beliefs.
What Iím reminded of every time
one of these questions comes up,
though, is that my faith journey is an
ongoing one. As with most things in
life, it needs to be nurtured. In short, if
you donít use it, youíll lose it.
Your faith is also an ever-changing
and fluid part of your life. The reality
is that there are times when certain aspects of your faith are going to be
more present to you than others. But
that doesnít mean you can just forget
about the other things. At some point
you might need them, for example,
such as when your child or grandchild
starts asking questions.
For the sake of keeping our faith alive
and growing, here are some activities
that you and your family can try:
Take the opportunity. If you run into
a question that you canít answer, view
it as a chance to learn or relearn something
about your faith.
Be the student. There have been many
times when my kids have come home
from school or religious-education class
and shared some interesting bit of information
about the Catholic faith that
they learned. Sometimes itís something
I already knew, but other times itís
something I may have forgotten or
didnít know at all. Listen to what your
kids have to say and ask them some
questions. If they donít know the
answer, suggest that you find it together.
Take it further. If a question comes
up about a faith issue, donít just answer
the question and then let it go. Dig a little
deeper on the subject. For instance,
when Maddie asked about the opening
lines of the Memorare, I went and
pulled out a prayer book to help answer
her question, and then Maddie told us
what she had learned about the prayer
at school. We also talked about how
there are different versions of prayers.
(Iíve discovered that the version of a
prayer I learned is not always the same
as what my kids are learning.)
Oh, and for the record, I did remember
the rest of the Memorare after a
few seconds. But Iím sure I wonít be
in danger of forgetting it for a while.
Maddie has made it a part of our mealtime