Column: Mass is perfect time to lift our children up to God

Rick Cheek is the associate consultant for the office of evangelization and Catholic formation of youth.
Rick Cheek is the associate consultant for the office of evangelization and Catholic formation of youth.

by Rick Cheek

September is almost gone. As I reflect on the summer, I find myself thinking back to the fall of 2005 and St. Therese.

She is one of my favorite saints and I have looked to her often for a sense of peace in difficult times. We are a people of signs and we’re always looking for a sign in answer to prayers or special requests or just to know that God is out there, looking out for us. That is just our nature, I think.

As you know, St. Therese is known for sending a rose when asked for her intercession. But look at St. Thomas from John’s Gospel: “Unless I see the wounds for myself and put my finger and hand there, I will not believe.” There always seems to be a little doubt.

I remember the first time I did the five-day prayer to St. Therese. It was a couple months after my oldest son Jared’s death back in 2005 from an automobile accident in Mundelein, Ill. Jared was in his second year of seminary.

The prayer wasn’t for anything in particular, just a prayer to know that he was OK. I had long forgotten that I’d made that special prayer to St. Thérèse, and it was a Sunday evening a couple weeks later when I opened an email from a good friend of mine and find a red rose that filled my entire computer screen.

It wasn’t exactly what I had been looking for but, needless to say, it was a rose and it brought me a deep sense of peace. Sometimes God works through others to bring us peace, just like he did through a friend in an email.

Praying for our children, even in death, is something that is no different than asking the saints to watch over them. This is so important, especially when they’ve left home to go off to college or have entered the work force.

They will face many challenges along the way that will keep them from living out their faith. That’s where we come in.

Prayer is at the heart of who we are as Catholics, and the Mass is the source and summit of who we are. Praying for them at Mass is a perfect time to lift them up. After all, the Mass is the greatest prayer Jesus gave us; without it, we have nothing.

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