Tips for Forming Disciples in Family Life

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Jesus and Children

In her book, Forming Intentional Disciples, Sherry Weddell remarks, “Whenever we treat Jesus as a “topic” within Catholicism instead of the “whole spiritual good of the Church” (CCC 11324) … we profoundly distort the faith and communicate an impersonal or institutional understanding of what it means to be Catholic” (p. 143). 

What does she mean? Weddell is reminding us that the most important aspect of Christianity is that we follow a Person, not a concept.

No matter what our vocation, Jesus should be central to our lives. Therefore, in order to grow in our faith life, we must find ways to encounter the Lord in a personal way.

I have long believed that motherhood, and parenthood in general, is a prime opportunity to encounter the Lord and commit to a greater relationship with the One who is our “whole spiritual good.”

Surprisingly, the setting for our encounter with God is not far from us. The gospel of Luke sets the scene for the arrival of God: not a rich palace or even a rabbinical school. It was simply a family, Mary and Joseph, who together received the gift of a Child and committed to bringing him up in holiness and grace before God and the community.

Mary encountered the Lord in a deeply personal way through being a mother, wife, and disciple. Joseph found the Lord in obedience to a Mystery he could not comprehend and in guarding that Mystery.

We might ask ourselves: how do I do this in my own life, how do I meet the Lord in my family life?

Here are some simple ways we can do this:

  • Practice the presence of God by daily prayers at meal times and before bed.
  • Periodically share Scripture passages or pray the rosary together.
  • See any troublesome things that happen to us as a family as something we can get through with God’s help.
  • Thank God regularly, as Stewards of all that we have and possess.
  •  Purify our hearts for God, by praying a Morning Offering so all our day is given to God.

To be Jesus-centered means to offer one’s life for love and then repeat this offering each day. Parents lead by example, and we must take seriously our own discipleship if we want our children to persevere in a life of faith.

Yet do we believe that we are each called equally by the Holy Spirit to follow Jesus? Do we see the connection between our own discipleship and passing the faith onto our children?

Let us always pray for one another that we may be disciples and help our children to also know and follow Him.

Copyright 2014 Julie L. Paavola

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you! I especially needed the reminder to “See any troublesome things that happen to us as a family as something we can get through with God’s help.” Thanks for sharing the main theme of the book: to encounter Christ daily.

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