From time to time, I receive very heartfelt emails from Catholic moms asking for advice and wisdom on spiritual topics. Another such email arrived today, and I thought I would come to you — our experts — and ask you to share your perspective. I am leaving out the name of the emailer and some of the personal details, but there is enough here for you to hear her pain and need for input. I hope you can spare a moment or two to reply in the comments below.
I was searching internet and found your site and was hoping you could help. My daughter attends Catholic school and will be getting her 1st Holy Communion this year. Out of the blue, she told me she was not sure she believed in Jesus or in God. I explained how with faith we don’t always need proof and I tried to explain why my faith is important to me and that it is natural to sometimes question what we can’t see. She also spoke to her teacher about this and I thought it might just be a phase. My focus was to just be more vigilant with prayers/ attending confession/mass, etc. But I am concerned she is still questioning her faith. Would like to guidance on how I can address with her. Books/activities/mentors. I’d also like to know if other moms may have handled this. We have a great priest but she is not comfortable talking with him and concerned he may get mad at her for not believing. Can you offer any suggestions?
I think this is not an unusual problem and that it can occur at many stages in a child’s life. A dear friend faced this with her son this year as he prepared for Confirmation. I think we need to acknowledge our children’s questions and do our best to respond to them, not ignoring the problem. I think it’s also fair, as this mom has done, to seek the help of others and to admit that we do not always have all of the answers in matters of faith. If her daughter is uncomfortable speaking with the priest, perhaps she can meet with a religious sister or respected teacher in the parish. Also, along with attending Sunday mass as a family, it is so important to take quiet time each day to pray with our children throughout the course of each day and to pause and recognize moments in our lives when God’s presence may feel more tangible – a lovely winter morning, the perfect sunset, or at the moment of a child’s accomplishment (large or small), pausing to simply say, “Thank you God!” is a testiment to a mom’s belief in a benevolent God who is always with us, even though we cannot see Him!
What advice can you share with this mom? Have you had this experience in your home?