Recently, I read an opinion piece about how to get your kids to stay in the Church through adulthood.
I am a parent reeling in the anguish of a child who’s left the church.
I needed to read this article, needed it to have solutions to problems I hadn’t known I’d had. I’ve consulted priests and been met with shrugs and sad faces. He’s met with priests and still walked away, eschewing Confirmation. So where did I fail him? Where did I fail God? How can I not fail these other children God gave to me?
This article was surely going to help me figure out what I did, right?
But as I read it, I realized I could check off all her boxes. We pray every night as a family. We go to Mass and confession. We talk about God and the catechism. We use a Catholic curriculum in our homeschool. We meet with other Catholic friends. My oldest is an Eagle Scout from a troop at a Catholic school. The troop prioritized Mass at campouts. We hopped parishes when he asked to attend Life Teen with his friends. We’ve told the kids since they were very little that our job as parents is to get them into Heaven. This idea has molded every decision we’ve made regarding them, and it’s a job I take very seriously, so in a way I feel like I failed a test I thought I had the answers to.
How arrogant of me.
So many good Catholic parents have come before me, doing all they know to keep their children pointed toward Heaven, and they also have children who are good people who reject the Faith. While the checklist is a good guide to practicing the Faith and sharing it with our children, it isn’t assurance. Children do have Free Will, which allows them to have a great foundation yet still turn away.
I won’t stop praying for them, this prayer: “God, make them like moths to Your flame, unable to turn away.”
I find myself repeating this, arrogantly reminding my omniscient Father of His duty, humbly trying to heal myself while I continue to pray for the return of one and the continued road for the others.
St. Monica, intercede for me and all the mamas whose hearts weep in desire of salvation for their children. You prayed St Augustine there, so lead us in prayers for that flame that our children cannot deny.