As we get older, we need to take it up a notch. We must know our faith in a deeper way. And we must be able to defend our faith and instruct others. Our children, especially teens, have many questions because of poor catechesis in their home or schools.
Many of them aren’t quite sure there’s a God. Although, actually I’d say, many of them do believe in God, but they just don’t know how, in this scientific age, to be sure of His existence. In fact, that question alone is a great starting place.
Today’s culture often teaches that creation is a random happening of some kind of primordial soup in which two cells came together and everything began.
The Catechism of the Catholic church teaches us that “…God, the first principle and last end of all things, can be known with certainty from the created world by the natural light of human reason.” (CCC 36)
Adults as well as teens, want to know how to answer the deepest questions of the human heart, but don’t know how or are too shy to ask. As practicing Catholics, we are charged with being equipped to address the theological questions of the day:
Does God exist? Who is Jesus? Why did He come? How does His dying on the cross do anything for me? and the moral questions of the day: Why should marriage be only between one man and one woman? What’s the big deal about sleeping together if you’re not married? Why not terminate a pregnancy? Why not let physicians assist someone who wants to die? My uncle is gay, and he’s a really nice guy; why does the Church say that he’s bad?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) is the best place to start. We should also practice the debate. Choose a topic and a buddy. The two of you study and have an “argument” so that you can each fortify yourself for the discussions you may encounter with your family members, your neighbors, or your co-workers. Practicing will help you to sharpen your skills, confirm you strengths, reveal your weaknesses and aid you in remaining unemotional when the time of actual discussion arises.
To “instruct the ignorant,” biblically speaking, comes directly from Jesus when He instructs His apostles, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
This applies to us today as much as it did in the first century. But we must be instructed, first, in what Jesus and His Church teaches. Spreading false information is as bad as saying nothing. We have a duty to evangelize our coworkers or family members, but we must do so realizing that we can only take them so far. We must act like arrows, pointing to the truth, bringing these precious souls to those who can instruct them properly.
Instructing the ignorant must not be done lightly as the fate of a person’s soul hangs in the balance. it is a work of mercy when someone takes the time to instruct us. The goal of religious instruction is always to place one into a saving relationship with God. And thus the goal is not to simply help people know about the Lord, but to know the Lord, and by that relationship with Him in the truth, to be saved.
Many otherwise good and conscientious parents place a low priority on the religious instruction of their children. Math and science classes must be passed; if trouble emerges a tutor needs to be secured! Even more than understanding worldly truths is learning Sacred Truths essential for salvation. Why not spend as much time preparing our children for heaven, everlasting life, as we do for careers in a temporal life that will end and we know not when!
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