I’ve read many books about raising children, but this title kept my attention: Raising Catholic Kids for their vocations! I thought it will be very interesting and helpful to read a book about how to guide our children in the pursuit of their vocations, so as soon as I got the book, I started reading it.
John and Claire Grabowski are married for 33 years, have 5 children and 3 grandchildren. They have done pre-Cana marriage ministry together for some 25 years, post-Cana ministry for 9 years, and served as a member couple from the United States on the Pontifical Council for the Family after their appointment by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009. They have spoken together to groups of laity, priests, and bishops across the United States.
To my surprise, the book expanded my perception of what helping my children to pursuit their vocations means. I thought it would be “you have to do this and that when they are teenagers,” but it started from the beginning, with how we welcome our children in our lives, if we see them as they are: God’s precious gift.
The first task for parents is to teach their children that, as precious gifts from God, they are created for one purpose: to love and serve God. They will begin to trust and believe in that truth when they know and feel loved by the parents and by God.
It is in trusting God that we can open ourselves to his plan for our lives. For our children, that plan includes their future vocation — the best path for them in coming to know God’s love and sharing that love with others.
One of the most interesting parts of the book was reading the testimonies of the authors’ own adult children. Each of them tells, from their different point of views and personalities, what they think their parents did that helped them to grow as faithful Catholics.
In all the chapters, the authors share what they did to foster the Faith in their children and how they helped each one of them to mature their personalities. One particular action I found motivating: to read and study the Catechism as a family. We have been doing that for a couple of weeks now and it is just wonderful! We have three teens (17, 14, and 13) at home and discussing the matters of the Faith with them is very inspiring. Sometimes they share a unique point of view that amazes us. We (parents) also realize that there are many things that we didn’t know, so everybody is learning together.
Further the authors explain that vocation is a call and every Christian is called to holiness. This fundamental vocation to holiness can be specified by a particular state of life such as marriage or consecrated life.
As parents, our goal is to raise our children to be saints. If we lead them to the Lord and work to foster their relationship with him, they will be able to hear God’s call to them and enter the state of life he desires for them. But above all, they will hear God’s call to them to live a life of holiness.
We have to teach by word and by example, so there are many ways showed in the book how we can do that as parents. We also have the responsibility to transform our home into a domestic church, a sanctuary.
In the last chapters we can learn that we have to be conformed to Christ in His offices as priest (praying as a family), as a king (serving as a family), and as a prophet (giving witness as a family).
Finally, “when it comes to our children’s discernment of things like a state in life, the choice of a spouse, or the selection of a profession, we respect our children’s ability to hear and respond to God’s call to them.” There are many deep reflections on how to do that and really surrender our children to God.
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Copyright 2019 Flávia Ghelardi