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Home > Support > Teaching the Faith > I just don't have the joy you seem to have in our Catholic Faith. I would like to have that joy....
Question: I am writing because I would love some insight and prayers as to how you have raised your children and family so Catholic. I am assuming you have a great deal of support from your husband. My children all but hate Mass which we try to attend three times a week (not including Sunday). We also end most nights with the family rosary as they go down to sleep--without my husband who dislikes Mass, confession and the rosary. (I consider myself lucky if he will say night prayers with us!) I know I sound like I am complaining but I just don't have the joy you seem to have in our Catholic Faith. I would like to have that joy. How did you get it?

Dear Mom,

Bless your heart. You certainly have quite a bit to deal with. The Lord must think you worthy because He has asked so much of you. I will try to address some of your concerns. I would encourage to ask your spiritual advisor/parish priest for additional spiritual advice, as he is your best resource.

I want to speak to what I feel is the most important issue that you raise: Mass attendance. It must bring you great sorrow that your children do not love the Holy Mass. Would it be possible for you to discontinue daily attendance to Mass for a short time? Let me explain. Sometimes we demand a level of spirituality that is very difficult for young children. If your children do not enjoy the Mass, then continually forcing them to attend may set up a pattern of feeling that Mass is a punishment instead of a joy. If we do not let our children learn to love the Mass they will discontinue going when they are able to do so. Instead, first enhance the worship that is indeed an obligation. Sunday Mass is their duty and their obligation. But it does not have to feel that way. Do all you can to make this time a time of fellowship with their parish family and a pleasant experience. Make certain that they understand the meaning and the spirituality of this worship. Get them prayer books and such that are geared to children. Keep these out of their reach during the week, so they are special for Sunday. Make the day special as well. Getting dressed up for church is a good and holy thing. Children love ritual and long for it in their lives. We always stop for donuts after Mass. It is frivolous, I agree, but the children look forward to it. I would suggest that you reward their behavior when it is in line with what you are asking of them. In the back of our church is a small religious articles cabinet. I let the child or children pick an inexpensive item. I purchase it and put it in our china cabinet at home. When they have earned this item I make a big deal and reward it to the child. Ask the older children to help you teach the younger ones through their behavior.

Many women worship without their husbands. This is indeed a sorrow of our time. The Lord will give you great grace because you are faithful to His call to 'bring the children to Me.' Once your children begin to feel 'love' for the Mass they will indeed want to be there. Be patient, this may take time. We can not 'demand' love, instead we are a witness to the 'power' of love. It is indeed a great sorrow that your husband does not love or live his faith. You are the best witness to the love of the Lord in a life. The best and surest way to bring people to the Lord is to show them His love in you. Do you remember the first time you fell in love? Recently my daughter has fallen in love with horses (praise God). Every time she is around one or speaks about them her face lights up and she becomes animated with 'love'. This is what we must let all people see when we speak of the Lord. Belittling or making people feel guilty about their spirituality is counterproductive and just plain doesn't work. I get the impression from your letter that you are indeed patient and kind with your husband. To demand more of him than he is able to give from the heart is to ask more than even the Lord asks of us. Jesus asks us to come to Him freely and without reserve. You are blessed that you can do this. Keep praying and praying for your husband. God has created each person for the glory of Heaven and your husband is no exception. You must be the perfect witness for him because the Lord has given him to you.

Let's pray: Dearest Jesus, I entrust to You today the concerns of Your faithful daughter. Please bring her the graces necessary to continue with all that You have asked of her. Bring a special blessing to her family and especially her husband. Amen.

Read Isaiah 61 tonight before going to bed. It gives me great comfort. John 16:22 is a favorite as well.

Sending out a prayer,

Rita Munn

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