Faith is a gift, one that parents try to transmit to their children. Those who have a strong sense of faith understand how it acts as a lever and fulcrum, elevating the common drudgery of our lives into something almost supernatural. The biggest challenge in the transmission of the faith is not explaining complicated doctrine, or even making the mysteries of faith understandable. Rather, the biggest challenge is making the invisible, visible.
The phrase “out of sight, out of mind” is popular because it’s mostly true. We tend to concentrate solely on what’s in front of us. This shortsightedness lands us in all sorts of jams, from sin to compromise on our goals. This tendency presents a major roadblock in helping a child understand who God is and, frankly, why they should care.
The Church gives us many externals that help us to bridge this gap. Alison and I have consistently reinforced in Benedict’s mind who God is, and that He’s very present in our lives. When going to Mass, we talk about going to Jesus’ house, and how we’re quiet while we’re there. In the sanctuary, we encourage him to say hello to Jesus and to blow Him kisses. These externals present in a very real way the presence of God in our lives. We see the fruit of these lessons when driving by the Church and Benedict greets Jesus, of his own accord.
I’ve found an even better way to make the Invisible, visible, not just in Benedict’s mind, but in the daily life of my family. We have three holy water fonts in our home: one by the front door, one in the master bedroom, and one in the kids room. Several times a day, we will give each other our blessing. Benedict in particular enjoys dipping his hand in the font and then giving Alison, Felicity, and I blessings.
This small and simple gesture, an almost overlooked one as we enter into the Church, is nurturing the recognition of God placed on Benedict’s heart and in his mind. These little blessings throughout the day, added up, will hopefully produce a bountiful harvest of faith in his own life.
As a parent, I don’t want to see him suffer, and I know that a strong sense of faith will help him go further in life, with more happiness, and peace than he could on his own. As Alison and I labor to transmit the faith to Benedict and to Felicity, I hope that through this series of small, simple gestures, we can make the Invisible, visible to them.