by Jacki Corrigan
We just returned from a visit to the Chicago area where we attended our granddaughter Micheala’s first holy Communion.
There were moments of profound awe that washed over me as I witnessed her embracing the faith that was bestowed upon her in baptism.
The solemnity of the day pierced my heart as I saw her welcome and delight in the faith journey of her walk with God.
Much later, I began to think of the generations that came before her and laid down the foundation of her faith.
We are family. Each of us is linked to many chapters of past generations whose faith created the stepping stones for the faith of the generations that follow.
From both her mother’s and father’s side came the Catholic faith that hopefully will be a fortress for her emerging faith. The generations preceding her have brought prayer in the home, Sunday and weekday attendance at Mass, most importantly, the love of the Eucharist. From devotions such as novenas and the rosary, faith was further nourished. The treasure of faith is a gift that has blessed both families. As families, we are called to holiness because we are first and foremost from the family of God. We are adopted children of God and on a pathway of return to the Father.
As a family, we are joined together to reflect God’s love to the world through the simple, yet sometimes heroic, ways that we live out family life.
Holiness can be defined in different ways for different families, but family prayer is always the glue that brings us closer to God, strengthens our family ties, and directs our choices. As parents and grandparents, we not only mold the faith of our children, but the faith of generations to come. By teaching them to pray, we can lead them to the heart of God.
Pope Benedict XVI during a meeting with first communicants and their parents said, “I ask you to help your children to grow in faith. I ask you to accompany them on their journey toward holy Communion.” He continued by urging parents, “Pray together at home too: at meals and before going to bed. Prayer does not only bring us nearer to God, but also nearer to one another.”
The pope further said: “Prayer is a powerful source of peace and joy. Family life becomes more joyful and expansive whenever God is there and his closeness is experienced in prayer.”
Thus, we gather from the past, we build in the present, and we define the future for our family of faith.
May God richly bless all first communicants.