Struggles of A Catholic Mother in A Completely Secular World

In a prayer meeting that we started a few months ago, we looked for the same village children who joined us last year prayer.  We were told that the youngsters—most of who were now in their teens—were with their friends in the village and did not want to be seen praying publicly (read: nagdadalaga na kasi).  True enough, we saw them later within the village hanging out with other teens.  I look at my son and thought: Will he have that same attitude someday when he reaches his teens?

 Bringing religion in my kid’s life

It can be frustrating to see children nowadays preferring to play or watch tv than spending a even just a little time for prayer.  I’ve had to struggle with that with my own child, especially since he studies in a non-sectarian school where religion (much more the Catholic religion) is not taught.  I’ve had to introduce prayer and famous biblical characters in his young life gradually.  I am quite fortunate enough to have lived during a period where Superbook and Flying House cartoon series were shown on tv which gave me a brief idea about personalities I never knew existed in the Bible.  The problem with us Catholics–which is really one of biggest shortcomings–is that we do not take effort to read our Bible.  This makes us a favorite target by other, more Bible-based denominations.  And this is sad because apart from our rich Catholic tradition, the foundations were in fact deeply rooted in the Bible.  We are not only sola traditio but also sola scriptura.

Children today do not have these cartoons to teach them characters from the Old and New Testaments.  Instead, we Disney, Nickolodeon, and animés.  No offense to these cartoons, but some of these animations simply do not teach the right values at all. 

I was surprised my son told me one day that he wanted to be Jake, the dog from the Adventure Time cartoon series, and not the master.  Imagine, a DOG? What could a dog teach? 

An effort one step at a time

Even today as my son has already received his first communion, I make it a point to inject something about the Catholic faith to him without sounding like a religion textbook.  I took extra effort to expose him to saints like St. Pio, St. Joseph, Mother Mary and St. Gemma Galgani.  I had to make him understand why I pray the rosary regularly and why praying it leads us to Jesus, Her Beloved Son.  It seems to rub off somehow, for he is now praying the rosary with me.  What else?  He knows the famous patriarchs of the Bible and can stay longer at mass.  He still becomes restless during mass, but it’s a big improvement than just playing inside the church while the sacrifice is going on.

Making religion a daily habit

As a parent, I worry about my son’s spirituality.  I do.  I do not want to go empty-handed come judgment time.  I know I will be directly responsible for my son’s spiritual upbringing.  There are no ifs and buts about it. So in the midst of all this confusion, indifference and anger, I will teach my son what he needs to know about God, about the beauty of the faith he belongs to, and the abundant graces that flow from practicing it.  I pray that his spirit will have the maturity that will enable him to have a child-like trust in Mama Mary who will inevitably lead him to Jesus.  At the end of the day and towards the end of my life, that’s all that matters.

That I’ve planted the seeds of faith in him.  Only then can I be hopeful of making a passing grade to heaven’s gate.

In a prayer meeting that we started a few months ago, we looked for the same village children who joined us last year prayer.  We were told that the youngsters—most of who were now in their teens—were with their friends in the village and did not want to be seen praying publicly (read: nagdadalaga na kasi).  True enough, we saw them later within the village hanging out with other teens.  I look at my son and thought: Will he have that same attitude someday when he reaches his teens?

Bringing religion in my kid’s life

It can be frustrating to see children nowadays preferring to play or watch tv than spending a even just a little time for prayer.  I’ve had to struggle with that with my own child, especially since he studies in a non-sectarian school where religion (much more the Catholic religion) is not taught.  I’ve had to introduce prayer and famous biblical characters to his young life gradually.  I am quite fortunate enough to have lived during a period where Superbook and Flying House cartoon series were shown on tv which gave me a brief idea about personalities I never knew existed in the Bible.  The problem with us Catholics–which is really one of biggest shortcomings–is that we do not take effort to read our Bible.  This makes us a favorite target by other, more Bible-based denominations.  And this is sad because apart from our rich Catholic tradition, the foundations were in fact deeply rooted in the Bible.  We are not only sola traditio but also sola scriptura.

Children today do not have these cartoons to teach them characters from the Old and New Testaments.  Instead, we Disney, Nickolodeon, and animés.  No offense to these cartoons, but some of these animations simply do not teach the right values at all. 

I was surprised my son told me one day that he wanted to be Jake, the dog from the Adventure Time cartoon series, and not the master.  Imagine, a DOG? What could a dog teach? 

An effort one step at a time

Even today as my son has already received his first communion, I make it a point to inject something about the Catholic faith to him without sounding like a religion textbook.  I took extra effort to expose him to saints like St. Pio, St. Joseph, Mother Mary and St. Gemma Galgani.  I had to make him understand why I pray the rosary regularly and why praying it leads us to Jesus, Her Beloved Son.  It seems to rub off somehow, for he is now praying the rosary with me.  What else?  He knows the famous patriarchs of the Bible and can stay longer at mass.  He still becomes restless during mass, but it’s a big improvement than just playing inside the church while the sacrifice is going on.

Making religion a daily habit

As a parent, I worry about my son’s spirituality.  I do.  I do not want to go empty-handed come judgment time.  I know I will be directly responsible for my son’s spiritual upbringing.  There are no ifs and buts about it. So in the midst of all this confusion, indifference and anger, I will teach my son what he needs to know about God, about the beauty of the faith he belongs to, and the abundant graces that flow from practicing it.  I pray that his spirit will have the maturity that will enable him to have a child-like trust in Mama Mary who will inevitably lead him to Jesus.  At the end of the day and towards the end of my life, that’s all that matters.

That I’ve planted the seeds of faith in him.  Only then can I be hopeful of making a passing grade to heaven’s gate.

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