Michael and I attended our first baptism class at St. Clare last week.
One of our discussion questions for the evening went straight to my heart: "What image of God do you want to give to your children?"
We are all created for either motherhood or fatherhood. Even if we are not physical mothers or fathers, we can be spiritual mothers and fathers to others. Catholic priests, brothers, sisters, nuns, and consecrated lay persons do not have physical children, but they often have many, many spiritual children.
Even people who are not married or don't have children are called by the nature of Christianity to follow Christ, to grow in faith and relationship with Him, and to help build up the kingdom of God by living a life that is an example and a blessing to others.
So, I do think this question applies to all of us. What image of God do we want to pass on to others?
Everyone in our class had powerful answers. Someone said that he wants his children to especially know that God is a forgiving God, and that he does not live up in Heaven keeping a list of all of our bad deeds. Another person said that she wants her children to know that God is always there and will never leave us.
I thought I would share my own answer with you.
I want my children to know that going through life "God's way" will make them happier, more successful and more fulfilled than any possible plan they could come up with themselves.
I want them to know that God has great plans for them, "plans for good and not for woe, plans for a future full of hope."
I want them to know that God listens to their prayers, and that they can always trust that He has perfect reasons and perfect timing for everything He does or doesn't do for them, in them, through them and despite them.
I want them to know that God will never give them more than they (and God) can handle, and that God is neither too big nor too small for any of their problems.
I want them to know that giving God their heart first means that they will be able to love others more perfectly and powerfully than they ever could on their own.