Written on: January 24, 2013
Looking back, as I remember it, faith in my family was expressed partially by doing all those “Catholic things”, going to Mass, receiving the sacraments, and saying our prayers. My mother usually was the one to say our night prayers with us. She stood at our bed side and we knelt on the bed leaning against her as we prayed. Each of our bedrooms had a crucifix, the dining room had a picture of the Last Supper and the kitchen had a little shrine to St. Anne. Our home was Catholic, but those were the externals. The spirit that informed them, gave them life and meaning was faith, the unseen animator.
Being kind, generous, forgiving and respectful were never preached, but definitely practiced in my family. My brother and sister and I grew up knowing, almost intuitively, what it meant to belong to a family. It meant sharing joys and sorrows, work and play, helping and being helped, forgiving and being forgiven. That understanding easily transferred to life outside the family, like being a good neighbor or team member. It meant that you served others happily and simply for their good. One practical application of that for us was not accepting money for helping anyone.
My parents provided my siblings and me very fertile soil in which the seeds of faith were planted and took root. Tending their growth is our life’s work, but it is not a “do it yourself project”. Albert Schweitzer said, “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” And so I say “Thank you, Mom and Dad.” I will do for others what you have done for me!