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Catholic Parenting: What I\’ve Done Right

January 7, AD2014

\"Leila

As parenting goes, the Lord knows I\’ve done a lot of things wrong. But there are a few things I\’ve done right.

After mulling over my 22 years of rearing eight children (and asking the older kids for their thoughts), I have come up with my three indispensable keys to effective Catholic parenting:

  • Moral formation is the top priority.
  • What I teach must make sense. 
  • Nothing is off limits for discussion.

Let\’s take them one at a time:

Moral formation is the top priority

When I say \”top priority\”, I mean that with every fiber of my being, and my kids know this. It really doesn\’t matter what else I do as a parent, because if I fail in the kids\’ moral formation, I not only fail them, but I also fail society and God. Fail at virtue training = fail as mother.

I have a suspicion that the average American parent no longer places \”moral formation\” at the tippy-top of the priority list. Seems to me that \”academic/career/financial success\” or \”popularity\” have taken the lead. Or a general philosophy of \”Whatever makes my child happy!\”

Oy, vey.

If we don\’t raise our children to be moral first and foremost, then we miss the point of parenthood entirely. We have enough financially successful, popular and \”happy\” degenerates out in the world already. What we can never have enough of is saints.

Now, it goes without saying that a child can be properly formed and still go off the rails, as there is that pesky little thing called \”free will\”. But woe to me if my child crashes into the ditch because I never placed and secured the rails in the first place.

I can\’t stress enough and I even risk redundancy here: Nothing supersedes moral formation as our top parental priority! Got it? Good. That brings us to:

Our beliefs and principles need to make logical sense

Please understand this! We live in an age of non-stop information. Not knowledge, not wisdom, just information. All of these conflicting bits of info are competing with us for the souls of our children. If we don\’t explain to our children why our Catholic Faith is logical, coherent, cohesive, consistent and beautiful, they will have no reason to stick with it when the rest of the world says it\’s stupid, superstitious, oppressive and irrelevant.Young people really do want to transcend the noise and chaos and sin and find the straight path. They really do want their world to make sense, and our job is to show them that it does.

To that end, here\’s what we must never say to our inquisitive children:

\”I have no idea why the Church is against [fill in the blank], or why we believe [fill in the blank]. You just need to follow the rules!\”

No, no, no, no! What we say instead is, \”Well, honey, I am not sure exactly why the Church teaches that, but I am going to find out and get right back to you. The Church always has a good answer.\”

Here\’s something else (worse!) that we must never say to our kids: \”Look, the Church teaches a lot of outdated stuff that no one really believes, including me, but we\’re Catholic and that\’s where we\’re staying.\”

Um, yeah… try that with teens and they\’ll be going. Right out of the Church. That kind of attitude lacks integrity and is nonsensical, and our confused kids will soon be seeking truth elsewhere. Can we blame them? Of course not! So, we must learn our faith well, live it without exception or apology, and pass it along simply and clearly. It\’s a beautiful thing to lay out the tapestry of truth before a child and hear him say, \”That makes sense.\”

Which leads us to:

Nothing is off limits for discussion

And I do mean nothing. Sex, drugs, death, hell, crime, whatever. Age appropriate, of course, but nothing is forbidden.

My kids know that whatever they ask me will be answered. I am approachable, and I want them coming to me before they even think about going to anyone else about these matters.

A while back, my middle-schooler came to me with a one-two punch of shocking questions regarding things he had heard at school, things I could never repeat here. My face stayed relaxed, I met his gaze, and I calmly gave him the explanations and information he needed.

I worry when I hear even conscientious, devout Catholic parents say that they avoid such discussions, or don\’t have them at all. They tell me they don\’t know what to say. I say, too bad. You have to have the conversation. That\’s your job. They are your children, and you need to take them seriously, look them in the eye, and tell them the truth. They want to hear it from you, and they will absorb your wisdom on these matters. Don\’t let them down.

When my middle-schooler and I finished our talk, he left the conversation relieved and satisfied, and so did I. The straight talk we had was informed by our Faith, which [refer to second bullet point] made sense to him. And the discussion was a catalyst for [refer to first bullet point] deeper moral formation.

See how seamlessly that all works? Ah, I love our Faith!

Photography: See our Photographers page.

Filed in: Marriage & Family

About the Author:

Leila Miller is a wife and mother of eight children who has a penchant for writing and a passion for teaching the Catholic Faith in simple ways. This summa cum laude Boston College graduate also enjoys debating secularists, and in her spare time she fancies herself a bit of a Catholic matchmaker. She manages two blogs that accommodate those hobbies well: Little Catholic Bubble, and the invite-only Catholic Moms Matchmaking.

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  • kcthomas

    Your analys is simply excellent and very realistic. The parents should know what and why they believe.If the parents think and act as if the membership in the church is just for social connectivity and social mingling ,then there will not be faith in the children. Parents should take pride in their faith and in passing on the same to children.

  • TracyE

    This is great and I am sharing this. Makes me feel so much better about having a discussion on “friends with benefits” with our 10 year old. I’d rather them hear it from us.

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  • Jessica

    I agree with everything except the number one thing must be about a real relationship with God. The goal of our faith is communion with God. An atheist can be moral. Christianity is about more than just morality. Saints are more than good moral people, they are people who live in communion with Christ.

    • WSquared

      Point taken, Jessica, but what do we mean by “morality”? If we were all agreed on what this means, we wouldn’t hear a barrage of “don’t impose your morality on me!” (sound familiar? It should).

      The difference when it comes to the Catholic Thing and its view of morality IS that morality is formed by relationship qua communion through, with, and in Christ.

    • Jessica

      Well the law of God is written on the hearts of all people, we are all children of God. Which is why one does not need to call oneself a Christian to be moral. Christianity should not be reduced to mere morality is my point. Ghandi for example was a good moral man, many people are. Why be Christian, what’s the difference between a good moral Christian and a good moral Jew or Muslim our whatever?

    • WSquared

      Of course. And Christianity should not be reduced to mere “spirituality,” either, just as it should never be reduced to mere morality. Moreover, when we speak of “religion,” we should know that “religion” begs the question of who and what we worship.

      This relationship and Communion with Christ of which we speak involves both matter and spirit, and not one or the other– which not only has spiritual and moral implications, but philosophical (particularly metaphysical) ones, too. Amid our culture’s “Jesus blather,” do we mean the Incarnation, or don’t we?

      We might note that a lot of those who call themselves Christians, including those who call themselves Catholic, arguably skirt the issue.

    • Jessica

      You really seem like you like to argue and have the last word. I read your comments before i posted and don’t know why you are arguing this point. I never once said Christianity is just about spirituality. My point is prioritize. Teach our children that the goal of the Christian life is communion with God, equip them to strive for this communion and they will be good moral people.

    • WSquared

      No, I just like a good discussion. And Leila’s discussions are always good, meaty, and full of substance– so much to chew over. If I follow up on something else, such as what you’ve written, it’s because I’m piggy-backing on what you’ve said, not because I purposefully want to argue or have the last word. That’s how discussion works, and that’s what happens when somebody actually says something worth discussing.

      I never once said Christianity is just about spirituality.

      I never said you did, so I’m sorry for any confusion I caused.

      But it is also true that a lot of Christians, including Catholics, tend to approach Christianity that way. Why would “spiritual, not religious” and “Jesus is my Savior, not my religion” gain any traction, otherwise?

    • Jessica

      Those sound like comments that protestants make. You seem to discuss from an apologetic view, I don’t, that’s probably where our conversation has gotten confused. I am assuming this is a conversation among Catholics reading this article, not trying to address everyone. Thanks for the discussion 🙂

    • WSquared

      They are comments that Protestants make, but I also find that many Catholics imbibe them, because they’re part of the larger culture, and a lot of the cultural assumptions that people take for granted. …and you will often see a lot of those things pop up among Catholics who hope that the Church will change her teaching on certain things that they “don’t like.” It also comes with the territory of “fitting in,” whereby what you’ve talked about strongly and rightly suggests that we should ask ourselves who or what we aim to fit into. It’s the old assimilation-ghettoization debate, whereby we are either one with the world, or we flee from it. But the Church, in documents such as Lumen Gentium and Lumen Fidei, is asking us to stand our ground and walk “the strangest way.” 🙂

      Moreover, when I respond to someone, I also mean to encourage, and not just engage– in other words, keep going, and keep thinking with what you’ve brought up, because you’re onto something.

      I don’t partake often in apologetics, but it’s fair to say that I’ve often been forced into that position, more among some Catholics than Protestants. I have Protestant friends, who do actually ask honest questions about what Catholics believe in good faith and with good will. I just do my best to explain, and I think many of them just want to know that Catholics love Jesus and love Scripture– or at least it certainly gets them thinking (I once had a lovely conversation with a Protestant woman while filing paperwork, because I just so happened to have my Bible with me in the waiting room. She never knew Catholics had a Bible and read it, and she wanted to see my Bible. I happily obliged)!

      Catholics who have already decided that the Church is “wrong” without giving her a fair hearing are a tougher nut to crack, and some of them will use What My Protestant Friends Think/Say/Do/Want to, well, subtly bash the Catholic Church– on everything from music at Mass to manner or worship to things like priestly celibacy– absolutely no curiosity as to what the Church teaches and why; just demands that the Church should “change.” The silver lining is that it forces you to confront what you profess to believe. And when these Catholics are family members who will have access to your children (not that you would ever want to deny them that access), you have to be on point regarding what Catholics believe if you want to raise your children Catholic.

    • Jessica

      Yeah I get what you’re saying. I’m a homeschooling mother of 8 and have moved my family across country to live next door to a monastery, our faith, our relationship with Christ, is what matters most to us. I agree and do exactly what this article says except I would say teaching our children to strive for holiness, which requires a real intimate relationship with God, is number one priority, the morality will be a part of that striving if you do that within our Catholic faith.

    • WSquared

      I don’t yet have any children of my own, and I hope and pray that God will gift me with children one day.

      But what I am aware of is that my vocation as a wife and mother begins now, long before any children who may or may not come along. Crucial at any time to being a parent is being aware of how God parents us: love of God will always come before love of neighbor, because it is the ordering principle and the standard. And it affects how and what we “do unto others.” Those who had Catholic parents who essentially did the opposite of Leila’s three bullet points already know or sense what it means to feel as though God is absent, even while having some fuzzy sense of Him every Sunday. We also have to think about what “holiness” actually means: it means to live a more integrated and holistic life– precisely the quality of life that the ever-living God lives, whereas a worldly life fragments persons. So one can and does prepare for parenthood, even when one is not thinking about “what to expect when you’re expecting.”

      I have been an instructor and a teacher, which has arguably encouraged me to think about the relationship between teaching and parenting (in my case, motherhood) as a matter of stewardship, and why the spiritual, and not just the material, is crucial: my students may not be “my” children. But they are human beings. Right stewardship is contingent upon the fullness of the truth of the human person. Moreover, not even “my” children in the end are “my” children: they are God’s children. All of these people are God’s children, and for whatever reason, He has placed them under my care. When it comes to willing the best for the flourishing of my students and any children God may give me, there should be no real difference in substance in what I teach them, in that what and how I teach them will either tend to toward their flourishing as human beings, or not.

      When it comes to my own children, I will have to have a certain amount of detachment– we all know parents who seem to think they can plan their children’s lives, who fill everything up with “activities” and “experiences,” but with no sense of respect and appreciation for, or deep understanding of, what those activities or experiences are about, or who deeply wound their children because they are disappointed that they’re not gifted in certain more “useful,” “lucrative,” or “respectable” ways. As someone who experienced some of that, I can tell you it stinks. We all know parents who don’t encourage vocations to the priesthood and religious life. What these situations all have in common is this: if these are the gifts God gave our children, and if He means them for a certain purpose, then who are we to stand in His way? If, for example, I only had two children or one child, and God called that only child or both of those children to the priesthood or the religious life, I have to be just as prepared to tell them, “have the courage to say ‘yes,'” just as I would have to be if I had five children and God likewise called all of them.

      As a post-script, I’m not sure, therefore, if encouraging vocations has anything explicitly to do with family size as it does allowing God’s children to be truly the people He calls them to be (Mr. and Mrs. Ratzinger, after all, only had three children– but to read some of the comments common on the internet, they wouldn’t be “Catholic enough”!).

    • james

      From one writer to another I would like to point out that your stream of consciousness on this thread is getting a bit wobbly and protracted.

    • WSquared

      And no, thank YOU. 🙂

    • Leila Miller

      My bullet point #2 is about the necessity of teaching the fullness of the Catholic Faith, which includes the entire Deposit of Faith, doctrinal truths, moral truths, the lives of the saints, the absolute necessity and stages of prayer (as the path to spiritual union with God), etc. All of that must be taught to a child, both in word and deed and example. Hope that helps clarify.

    • WSquared

      P.S. Leila, I’ve never said this before, but I’ve lurked over at “Little Catholic Bubble,” so your three bullet points are familiar to me. Thank you for writing this, your blog, and what you’ve done right.

      I wish more Catholic kids had Catholic parents like you.

    • Leila Miller

      Thank you so much! 🙂

    • HenryBowers

      Ghandi was not a good moral man; he got a few things right, but openly endorsed moral relativism. The law written on the heart can still be obfuscated by the passions, including one’s passion for pantheism, to which you seem predisposed. Only the Catholic faith even could reduce to mere morality, since morality is from the Divine Lawgiver that only the Catholic faith most comprehensively describes.

    • Jessica

      What would make you say I’m predisposed to pantheism? My whole point has been that Christianity is far greater than mere morality, far greater than any other religion. Morality cannot be our number one priority as parents. Teaching our children to love God, to do His will, to be saints must be our number one priority. Morality will be a part of that teaching but communion with God, striving for holiness does not have to be a part of teaching morality. For example one can argue why abortion is wrong without mentioning God, we even must be able to since there are many that do not believe in Him.

    • HenryBowers

      Okay, maybe I misunderstood some of your rhetorical questions as literal questions.

    • Leila Miller

      Jessica, I should have stated at the outset that a relationship with God is a given, in case anyone might have thought that a relationship with the Lord is not part of the equation of being Catholic — a proposition that sort of takes my breath away. (To me, it’s like ordering a hot dog from a vendor: I don’t have to explicitly mention the inclusion of a bun, since that’s a given.)

      So, yes, for the record, a relationship with God is so central, so essential, that my three points would be ridiculous and nonsensical without it.

    • Jessica

      Yes absolutely. Problem is many do reduce Christianity to morality. If we teach the fullness of faith, we teach the goal of Christianity is communion with God, then you will be a good moral person anyways. Pope Francis had been speaking of this a lot. Good article, Thank you!

    • WSquared

      Excellent point about reducing Christianity to morality in general (wanted to make sure you knew that we’re actually on the same page), and I do wonder if it’s actually connected to reducing it to some sort of detached “spirituality.” It might well boil down to slippage (not quite sure how the dynamics work just yet, but they’re worth observing). Why your point in general is an excellent one is because it speaks to what any morality is formed by. It’s why Communion with God does matter.

      The reason I bring this up, and bring it up a lot, is because even in Catholic families, let alone outside of them, there will be enough times when somebody puts everyone else in an awkward position– like someone choosing to marry outside the Church, for example, and all of a sudden, it’s a question of “should I attend the wedding,” and not “what am I going to wear?” And as a family, parents and children both have to know how to respond, and respond charitably. Sometimes, any one Catholic may find themselves in the position where they are the only ones standing by what the Church teaches, and they are met by accusations of lacking charity and also that if you don’t agree with such-and-such a family member, then it’s clear that you must “hate” them or “shun” them. Moreover, we often talk about “conscience” without understanding that it must be properly formed.

      This is often very difficult, and many of us have already heard “don’t impose your morality on me!” and “you can’t impose your religion on them” (whereby they can thereby impose their morality, or religion, or lack thereof, on everyone else by demanding their support, when respect must go both ways: thanks for inviting me, but I can’t accept your kind invitation. Whereby the response should leave it at that. No grandstanding, just polite refusal, and no emotional blackmail about how “you won’t come, therefore you hate me!”). That Christianity can’t just be reduced to nicey-nice morality or moralism is good reason why it can’t be painted into the “moral” or “spiritual” corners that it often can be if we don’t know how to respond– particularly when understanding “love” as emotion, and not Caritas makes things a veritable minefield.

      we teach the goal of Christianity is communion with God, then you will be a good moral person anyways.

      …except that this begs the question of what we mean by “God” and what, therefore, we mean by “morality.” Which segues nicely into your other astute point about why we’re Catholic and not anything else– does eternal life and salvation, therefore, inform and form that morality? Leila’s points about teaching the fullness of the Catholic faith means, therefore, that Catholics can answer these questions, because thinking with them is arguably demanded of us: it means that we can move from general to specific, and back again. Every Catholic has, by now, encountered situations where somebody told them that they weren’t being “Christian,” because they weren’t being “nice” (as in, they took issue, with good reason, with what the person telling them that they weren’t being “Christian” said).

      Thanks for the good discussion. I seriously mean that!

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  • Jeni

    excellent!

  • Sue Murphy Umezaki

    Excellent! Thank you for sharing this. On the second point, my daughter was 12 when we converted to Catholicism from Evangelicalism. She has told me that she firmly believes that she would have lost her faith at some point, maybe even by now (she’s 16 now), if we hadn’t converted. There were just so many things that didn’t make sense to her, and questions that I couldn’t answer for her as an Evangelical. There really is always an answer for us as Catholics if we are diligent to dig and find out when we don’t know something off the bat!

    • WSquared

      …and sometimes those answers unfold more fully and more richly over time. But they can and will take time, depending on what they are. Not for nothing did Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman say, “Lord, in my perplexity, let my perplexity serve You.”

      Whenever anyone seeks answers, it’s always important to recommend that they seek them in prayer. It’s okay to say, “Lord, I don’t get it: please help!” After all, Bartimaeus cried out, “Lord, I want to see!”

      Moreover, if God is Who He says He is, He not only can take our questions, but He loves our answers. Diligence, after all, must always point in the right direction. It’s been my own experience coming back to the Church that if you pray the Rosary while, say, learning more about the Catechism, and you receive the Sacraments regularly, you’ll find that you’ll be able to anticipate a good deal of “what’s coming.”

    • WSquared

      Sorry; I meant that He loves our questions. The best and fullest way to question, of course, is in humility: because that way, we learn to wait more patiently for His answer. …and no, it won’t come all at once.

  • WSquared

    Agreed on absolutely all points here. Spot on!

    One thing I’d like to add, though, is this (which probably goes under and expounds upon “moral formation”): all of the above don’t become a reality only as soon as it falls under the rubric of “what to expect while you’re expecting.” So much of parenting reduces it to biology (…hence priority on having your “own” kids, both when it is and is not “convenient”) with no sense of the spiritual when human beings are matter and spirit, not one or the other. So parenting is also about stewardship.

    And there are people in our care all the time, whether we are married with our own children or not. The Church views spiritual parenthood as important. And it’s also therefore important in this regard to know that our children are not “our” children. in the end, they, like everyone else, are God’s children.

    If we don’t explain to our children why our Catholic Faith is logical,
    coherent, cohesive, consistent and beautiful, they will have no reason
    to stick with it when the rest of the world says it’s stupid,
    superstitious, oppressive and irrelevant.

    Thank you. I was one of those kids who left the Church. I also came back. And what you’ve written in the above paragraph and the ones below it are still a bit of a visceral annoyance for me. I’ve always been inquisitive and highly intellectual. But I never had that sense that the Catholic faith nourishes the whole person, including the intellect, while growing up. When I learned through taking Western Civ that the Church did have this rich tradition, I respected it to some degree, but didn’t know how to tap into it. I’m a graduate student. Knowing that the Catholic faith is bigger than I and smarter than I is a comfort: it means that I can go as far and as deep as I want to, even and especially when “casting out into the deep” on many fronts, sometimes simultaneously, is not easy.

    I also wish that I’d had the twin examples of St. Gianna Beretta Molla and Dr. Elizabeth Anscombe when I was growing up, which tends to shake up the assumption that a woman can’t work and be a good, loving, holy mother, and a woman with a big family can’t have a brilliant academic career. That both illustrate what the Church’s teaching on human sexuality makes possible actually frees any family up for accepting that whatever God gives them is whatever God gives them. That enough people separate these things out is the flipside, I would argue, of ignoring “Humanae Vitae,” which runs far deeper than just “fewer children” and “fewer vocations” that we tend to read and hear over and over again in the same tired conversations in Catholic circles. The bad fruits are more subtle and wide-ranging than that.

    There is also a corollary to your point about “following all the rules”: insisting on mandating what the Church does not teach is a form of misrepresenting what the Church teaches. Submission to the Magisterium, and learning to love what it teaches, also involves knowing what the Church does not teach, along with what she does. Nothing has made me want to hug the Pope and the Magisterium more than having felt squeezed on several “hot-button issues” in different ways from both the lukewarm Catholics and the holier-than-thou kind.

    Many Catholic parents tend to imbibe– without thinking– the larger culture’s assumptions that faith and reason don’t mix, faith and belief are all about “religion,” and the study of theology is “religion class.” Being Catholic is some sort of “family tradition,” from Ma’s spaghetti sauce to one’s rosary-praying grandma from “the old country” to having the St. Francis bird bath to burying a statue of St. Joseph in the backyard for this, that, or the other thing. And I’ll be blunt: in combination, a lot of that makes me really angry.

    I’m not talking, however, about devout Catholics who may not be intellectuals, but who are holy in the truest sense of the word: because of Christ in the Eucharist, even the simplest of saints engage and understand profundity, like the intellectual-heavyweight saints. In fact, a simple faith– not a simplistic, childish one– is required of everyone, because it boils down to receptivity and being filled. So those with a simple faith, intellectually well endowed or not, still communicate that profundity, even if they don’t all do it in the same way. My mother went from “following all the rules” to becoming more devout. There were many waypoints back to the Church for me. Among them was noticing that when she became more devout, she became more reasonable; more logical. There’s a difference between just saying a Novena and letting it change you, wherein the latter case, you’ve learned to think with it. Catholicism is about having a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ,” because it is about the fullness of the truth of the human person.

    But where intellectually inclined Catholics are concerned, though, we desperately need to remember that the Church can feed us and nourish us; that she doesn’t just accommodate us at best. Pundits of any kind claiming to be Christian, who continually denigrate “[liberal] academics” need to be careful. The issue boils down to this: not only is faith not contrary to reason, but how does God use the gift of a strong intellect to make someone holy? How does doing the smallest things with great love– even seemingly inconsequential things like cleaning the toilet– encourage and enable proper stewardship of that gift and others? That’s part of faith lived in the everyday. It’s why the example of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was and continues to be so valuable. The Catholic Thing involves not whether we think at all, but what we think with. Moreover it’s very much about good versus bad thought.

  • April

    Well done good and faithful servant!!! I completely agree and can attest. We discuss everything. We even discuss psychological influences, and we dissect why we are where we are today: Church scandals, societal and moral breakdown, economic issues, even the temperaments of others and social relationships, etc. All through the lenses of Truth (hopefully through Christ’s eyes) and virtue. The only thing I would add is we must help our children foster a deep relationship with Jesus – the easiest way is through frequent mass and Adoration. Journaling frequently to the Lord and daily family prayer fosters this well.

    • WSquared

      he only thing I would add is we must help our children foster a deep
      relationship with Jesus – the easiest way is through frequent mass and
      Adoration.

      Absolutely true. And right on. Because He also seeks us. But also, when we are in Adoration, we are letting Him speak. We engage Him, and we also let Him engage us. There’s a “Lumen Fidei” teachable moment here: namely, that it repeats what St. Augustine and St. Anselm of Canterbury knew– “unless you believe, you will not understand.” Our modern culture has this exactly backwards. And since He means for our whole selves to belong to Him and dwell in Him, then He most certainly isn’t asking us to leave our brains at the Church door. Our kids should be bringing their brains and everything else to Adoration: we’re Catholics– we pray with everything we’ve got.

      No Catholic should ever let anyone tell them that Catholicism isn’t about having a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” It is profoundly personal, in every nook and cranny, in depth and in breadth.

      That’s why it can be kinda scary. Every Catholic knows, deep down, that Catholicism is confrontational– it’s why we’re often too chicken to go to Confession. It may be a gentle confrontation, but perhaps what’s starkest is gentlest, whereby in stillness, its impact is magnified. So I would add frequent Confession to “frequent Mass and Adoration.” Not only is it often the one we leave out, but it is necessary in order to remain open to God’s abundance: He cannot fill what is already full, and we should not expect the Eucharist to be effective if we don’t give Him the room and the “in” He needs to work in us. Ohhhh, yeah; it’s personal, all right.

  • John Darrouzet

    Excellent!

  • Catholic Grammie

    Ah, Leila – you are so wise! Somehow, I made it through and my children survived with a strong faith and are better parents than I was – how much easier if you had been my friend back then! I spent a lot of time on my knees in prayer. Thank God!

  • Sherry

    Love this!