Packin’ the bags...again and again and again! I’ve packed so many bags for my family you would think I was a professional packer--backpacks, lunch packs, book bags, purses, suitcases, camp trunks, laundry bags, trash bags, brown bags, designer bags, big bags, small bags-- you name it...I’ve packed it! Way more than once!
But the question is...have I packed the MOST IMPORTANT BAG OF ALL?
Have I packed The Spiritual Bag?
What are the “SPIRITUAL ESSENTIALS” that need to be packed up --the things I really need to ensure that my family and I are equipped to handle life, come what may?
Here are the top three you will never want to leave home without.*
1. A personal relationship with Christ
How does this happen?
Read the Bible. The Bible is the best way to get to know who God is. He tells us who He is in His Word. Want to know God better? Get to know Jesus. He is the “spitting image” of His Father (Hebrews 1:3). Do you have a good story book Bible for bedtime reading with the kids? Reward them for memorizing Bible verses! It works! (see last week’s blog for easy to memorize verses.)
Pray before meals together, before bedtime, or bless them going out the door! Pray ANYTIME! Ask them, “How can I pray for you?” and PRAY for them right then and there! There is nothing like talking to God together spontaneously to teach the kids to KNOW He is real and available for them ANYTIME.
Go to Mass together. Take the Sacraments. Do Adoration and go to Confession as a family. These “tools of the Christian Life” help get us through the good and not so good times and bond us closer to God and each other.
2. The knowledge that you are infinitely loved by God and that He has prepared a place for you when this life is over
If we learn early on that we are truly valued and loved by God, so much so that He died and rose again and is seated at the right hand of the Father praying for us in heaven, then we have a direction in which to point our life. We are made for heaven. We are intended to be with Him there. Our job is to love God first and foremost and to help our family and friends to get to heaven, experience union with God. Your kids need to know that there is more to life than what they see. When times get tough, thoughts of eternity can keep us going because our reward awaits us. And in heaven, we'll experience intimacy, beauty, adventure and peace.
3. The gift of understanding that you have a mission from God that is unique and purposeful
We need to ask ourselves and ask our kids, ”What good thing did God create for me/you to do?” “What good do you think God wants to bring into this world through me/you?” We are not here for our own glory, but for the glory and purpose of God. When we realize God has a mission for us, we find purpose in everything we do.
Reading the stories of the Saints Lives can be very helpful and inspiring. They were all very human, but God did great things in and through them. He can and will do the same in us if we allow Him.
You are your child’s best teacher. Lead through example.
Ask God if He would like to pack YOUR bag with any new equipment over Lent. Perhaps He is asking you to explore your faith more deeply through an ALPHA Course or a Bible Study like Walking with Purpose.
Life is a journey... better get packin’!
Train the young in the way they should go; even when old, they will not swerve from it. Proverbs 22:6
Dear Lord, What a job! You have given me the task of preparing my children spiritually to face the world! I realize that sending them to Catholic or Christian Schools is not enough. I need to pour Your love and truth into them everyday! Lord, fill me up! Cover my lack with Your ability! Make me creative and mindful as I try to teach them. Help me to get my priorities straight! FAITH is the most important gift I can give them. Help me to remember this. In the end, a deep love and relationship with You is all that will matter.
I ask this in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
*Special thanks to Fr. Zachary Dominguez for his monthly inspirational talks to our Moms’ group! The insights shared here are the direct result of what he sees are most needed in the lives of our kids by the time he works with them in junior high and high school. We will be wise to listen and do our best to help prepare them for the road ahead.