This is a question my husband asked me a couple of years ago when we went on a World Wide Marriage Encounter weekend. I could write a whole post about this amazing program, which helped strengthen communication within our marriage and build trust, but that will have to wait for another day.
Today, I want to focus on this question that my husband posed to me during our time there.
“What if our children leave the Catholic Church?”
I am not sure what kind of contorted facial response I gave him but I do know my mind was reeling.
What would I do? What would that mean?
I responded, “It would break my heart. It would break it into a million pieces.”
Oh yes, I realize I have a flare for the dramatic but that’s how I imagined I would feel.
Then he said, “Well, what if they just went to a different Christian church? Not became atheists or anything like that.”
“I mean, that would be better than no belief at all,” I said, “but it would still make me so sad. If that happened then it means we failed in teaching them the truths of the Catholic faith. It means that we didn’t do enough, say enough, or know enough.”
This exchange came up when we were discussing a topic (one which I honestly can’t remember). My husband was asking about my two year long obsession with listening to Catholic Podcasts like; Catholic Answers, Go Ask Your Father, The Patrick Madrid Show, etc. — and also with my reading (or mostly purchasing of) TONS of apologetics materials. I am also a faithful viewer of The Journey Home on EWTN and love listening to conversion and reversion stories. I could not, and still cannot, get enough of these resources.
Of course, as my husband pointed out, all of this wasn’t a bad thing but the way I was going about it was less than ideal. An example of this used to happen every night, whenever he would come home from work, I would be rushing around making dinner with my earbuds in while listening to one of my podcasts and I would barely acknowledge him. Looking back, I see that was not a good thing. I think he was also concerned that I was building up my arsenal of defenses to unload on the next unsuspecting LDS missionary, JW, or non-Catholic the moment they questioned my faith. Yes, I want to be able to defend my faith and the Church. However, I am not one to seek out confrontation and being an apologist is definitely not in my skill set.
I explained to my husband that I wasn’t sure what was happening or why I had this insatiable fire within. I didn’t (and still don’t) exactly know what God is preparing me for – but it is for something. I told him about my desire to start a blog sharing the JOY of the Catholic faith with others (I did that!). I told him that the Lord could be preparing me to be a Catholic author, a speaker, or ministry leader — or perhaps I just need to know these things for the purpose of evangelizing our family and myself.
If I couldn’t defend my faith to someone who isn’t Catholic or even articulate WHY I am Catholic (and neither could he), then what chance would we have of raising kids that could do it? We have to prepare ourselves, so we can prepare them. He agreed.
Living in a world where indifference and relativism are spreading like wildfire, our boys could easily be sucked right into that way of thinking. It is our job as Catholic parents to do whatever we can to prepare them to not only face it, but stand firm and defend when necessary.
If this is important to you to (and I hope that it is) I recommend all the resources listed above. Also, I HIGHLY recommend Trent Horn’s book, Why We are Catholic: Our Reasons for Faith Hope and Love. Excellent for Catholics and non-Catholics alike. (Not an affiliate. Just a personal recommendation.)
“…always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence…”
1 Peter 3:15
“What if our boys leave the church”
My hope is that I never have to face that question – but if the time does come, I know I have to place them in the hands of the Lord and pray like Saint Monica – unceasingly. I’ll love them like I always have, say Rosaries for them, spend hours in Adoration praying for them, make sacrifices, answer their questions the best I can, and anything else I can think of. I’ll also know that we probably could have done something more or different (we are far from experts) but for better or worse my husband and I will have done the best we could for our children. And really, that is all any of us can do.
So what things are we doing to try to keep our kids Catholic? I’ll be sharing that next time 🙂
May the Lord bless and keep you ✝️