Keep the communication going but remember: the journey of faith is your child’s to make.
There are few things more heartbreaking for a Catholic parent then to watch their children abandon their faith and leave the Church. When I addressed this issue in my last column the response from parents going through this very ordeal was overwhelming.
What if you do everything right — parochial school, family rosaries, take the children to adoration, never miss a Mass, pray together all the time, serving at the altar, all of it — and they still decide to leave the Church? Then what?
Please parents, forgive yourselves. Stop carrying around the pain of blame. If you spend too much analyzing everything you think you did wrong or could have done better your own mental and spiritual peace will be negatively affected. Refuse to become the victim and let your heartbreak consume you to the point of self absorption.
Realize that this journey is your child’s to make. We all have our own stories of how we came to be where we are in within the Church. I ran the gauntlet of disbelief and doubt before I found myself converting to Catholicism at the age of 30. My grandmother came back to the Church on her deathbed and my mom returned after a 40-year absence from the sacraments.
The problem with youth is that it believes itself to be all-knowing and invincible. I remember my own strong headed youth and later my struggle to find something substantial to believe in. When I think of all that I went through to get where I am today I recall the series of paintings by Thomas Cole called The Voyage of Life.