My husband and I are Catholic. We have been our whole lives.
As such, there was never any doubt that we would raise our children in the same
Dutifully, we had them each baptized on arrival and attended
Mass as a family on weekends and holy days of obligation. When the boys hit
preschool, we enrolled them in our parish’s religious education program so they
could go through the sacraments of First Reconciliation, First Communion and their
Along the way, one became an altar boy, one became a lector
and two joined our parish’s youth group. One son, though, after attending a
social event at a friend’s non-denominational church, began to view his religious
experience as rather mundane and completely uninspiring.
His request left me more fired up than I care to admit, but it forced me into some pretty heavy introspection.
As he put it, he was simply going through the motions.
Gathering much courage, he asked us to support him as he
sought to develop his Christian faith by following a path very different from
the one we had set him on almost 18 years earlier.
My initial reaction was not good. I sputtered and protested.
At this new church he wanted to attend, services were considered optional and,
worse, when they did offer what they referred to as communion, they did not
recognize it as being the actual body of Christ.
While I wanted to shout and scream, I instead took a step
His request left me more fired up than I care to admit, but it
forced me into some pretty heavy introspection. As much as I love my faith and hold close its doctrine, I knew forcing
it on him would only backfire.
Going to mass every single weekend was non-negotiable for my
siblings and me. Even when we were on vacation. Even when I badly sprained my
ankle and my dad carried me in. Even when I, too, didn’t want to go anymore.
These days, out of the five of us kids, only one of my
sisters and I still go. And, for me, it
was only after a long absence that I finally returned to the church. Not just
because I had kids and wanted to “raise them right.” I did it for me. I
followed my heart, and that’s where it led me.
So, with our blessing, he set out on his spiritual journey
along this new path. Always one to search for answers in the pages of books, he
dives deeper into the Bible now than he ever did before. A peaceful countenance
seems to have settled on him and his relationships with his siblings, which were a bit strained, are now blossoming.
Who knows? Maybe someday he’ll return. If and when that day
comes, I’m certain it will be on his terms, not mine, making it all the more