Husband & Wife Articles


Sure Guides

As a new calendar year begins, it seems appropriate for parents to look at the fundamentals of their faith with wondrous eyes and warm hearts.

By Jason Godin

When the Year of Faith started, Pope Benedict XVI proposed that all Catholics “rediscover the content of the faith” and “reflect on the act of faith” (Porta Fidei, §9). As that liturgical year continues and a new calendar year begins, it seems appropriate for parents to look at the fundamentals of their faith with wondrous eyes and warm hearts. Both the Compendium and Catechism of the Catholic Church prove sure guides in this regard, providing the basics of Catholicism in an authoritative, organized and understandable way. When viewed together, they deepen our understanding of who we really are, what we truly believe, and that the answers to both should and must inform how we act.

The very first question posed by the Compendium asks God’s plan for humanity:

“God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. In the fullness of time, God the Father sent his Son as the Redeemer and Savior of mankind, fallen into sin, thus calling all into his Church and, through the work of the Holy Spirit, making them adopted children and heirs of his eternal happiness” (1).

At its core, Christianity is an invitation for all people to live life to its fullest. It is a proposal, the Catechism explains, in which God calls each one of us “to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength” (CCC, 1). The individual who accepts such a call of faith identifies that life is made by Love, out of love, and lovingly seeks to direct his own life toward sharing this profound discovery with others.
But passing on the faith to others is no easy task! How does one even begin? Catechesis emerges as a critical component in fulfilling such a mission. The Catechism defines catechesis as “an education in the faith of children, young people, and adults” which “includes especially the teaching of Christian doctrine imparted, generally speaking, in an organic and systematic way” toward “initiating the hearers into the fullness of Christian life” (CCC, 5). Drawing from the rich reservoirs of Sacred Scriptures, Fathers of the Church, liturgy, and the Magisterium, catechesis shares and celebrates faith. It flows with a strong piety forged by the Apostles’ Creed, the seven Sacraments, the Ten Commandments and a life of prayer (cf. CCC, 3, 11). Done in love and accomplished with God’s grace, it constantly fuels families across the ages with a faith both taught and caught.
Fathers and mothers face many questions from children. As their kids get older, most parents can testify that the answers demanded by those moments aren’t always the easiest to provide. Even when standing in solidarity beside each other, husbands and wives may not know exactly what to say, how to say it, where or even who to look for to begin an answer. Consequently, and understandably, the safe reply that arrives is a refrain of silence. But the retreats that follow such wordless encounters all too often speak of disaster ahead, especially when it comes to questions about faith.

Let silence begin to talk another way in the week ahead. Lay the demands of the weekdays quietly before the Lord. Place faith, in the process, boldly back where it belongs. With the Compendium and Catechism as sure guides, strive to make your family a shelter for the Holy Family. Let faith fill you abundantly, give the graces that overflow from it to the community around you, and show the loving identity of Catholicism.

Married with two children, Jason Godin teaches United States history at Blinn College in Bryan, Texas.