Nature of Faith
Faith is not something abstract or magical. Neither is it something that is automatically poured into the child’s soul through the waters of baptism. Rather it is our day to day responding to God’s call as we journey through life. It is something eminently concrete and practical. We see it being manifested daily in the lives of ordinary people especially those burdened by the trials and tribulations of life. All of us know people of deep faith – our parents, grandparents …We are grateful for the formative influence they have had on us. We cherish the values that guide and inspire them – kindness, gentleness, goodness, patience faithfulness, self control, self sacrifice Galations 5:22. We admire the kind of life they led. We long for that spirit of wisdom and perception which has helped them to negotiate their way through the ups and downs of life. We want our child to share the same values and ideals as s/he grows up and goes forth into the world.
Training our children in the ways of faith
Children as we know are particularly adept at imitating their parents in a wide variety of ways. They talk like them. They imitate their mannerisms. The same holds true when it comes to the ways of faith. Children grow in faith by coming into contact with people of faith. You child will grow in faith only if you are people of faith. Faith is contagious. – it is caught not taught.
If we are not people of faith the seed of faith sown in baptism will come to nothing. The precious gift that God makes available to us will have fallen on the edge of life.
Our own personal faith-commitment
The faith which is presupposed at infant baptism is the parents faith, the godparents faith, the faith of the whole Christian community. In most instances it is a faith which is far from perfect, it is a struggling, stammering faith in constant need of nourishing and strengthening. Our own personal faith is nourished and sustained through contact with people of faith Sunday after Sunday when we come together to worship as the Lord’s family. It is there that we are exposed to the signs of faith. We come not just to be nourished ourselves but to nourish one another as well through our presence and participation…. By absenting ourselves regularly from Sunday Mass we are cutting ourselves off from the signs of faith and weakening the whole faith-fabric of the believing community. ..
Our faith is further sustained and nourished by our own personal and family prayers. During the celebration of the sacrament of baptism you will be reminded that ‘as parents you will be the first teachers of your children in the ways of faith …. you must also be the best of teachers, ‘ Your children will be people of faith only if they grow up in a household of faith.
Faith by its very nature cannot be static. It cannot stand still. It must either grow and mature or wilt and wither….
“There is just one way to bring up a child
in the way he should go
and that is to travel that way yourself.” Abraham Lincoln
We may bring our children to the waters of baptism but what will it profit them if we abandon them there ?
The making of a Christian is a life long process…