I see so many announcements this time of year about kids graduating from both high school and collage, and the pride shines from parents and grandparents when such a milestone and accomplishment is met, and rightly so. Graduating high school or college, and landing that job to become financially successful and materially rich are good things, and noteworthy. So congratulations to all those families celebrating such accomplishments.
There is one type of accomplishment though that we often never see, and that isn't even considered important or vital to a successful life, and that is our kids who have remained committed and devoted to Christ and His Church. Why doesn't this accomplishment warrant the same degree of honor and appreciation. It is after all, vitally more important for someone to remain faithful to the Church and Christ than it is to graduate from anything, or land any kind of job, or obtain any type of material wealth or accomplishment. After all, at the moment of death, a devoted life to Christ is all that matters, our eternal life and where we spend it is the only accomplishment worth seeking in this life. It is the whole purpose of life. According to the Catechism, the meaning of life is to know, love and serve the Lord, so we can be with Him forever in the next life. Somewhere along the way, the only focus has become the obsession to fulfill every material and temporal desire of this life at the expense of the next.
The thing is many of the people boasting the most about these material and temporal accomplishments do so as their kids walk away from Christ and His Church, parents boast of outdoor and beach weddings, not instituted sacramentally and proudly post the pictures and their support of such invalid unions by baptized Catholics. I see many pictures on social media of young adults, former classmates of my kids, modeling very immodest and almost vulgar dresses and skimpy bathing suits actually posted by parents. Former Catholic school classmates initiate, sponsor and participate in events and programs that distract and detract from Sunday Mass obligations and honoring our Lord on His day. The list goes on and on.
So, here lies the problem. If we as parents don't take the Faith seriously, our kids won't either. If we lament our kids falling away, yet promote secular achievements more than their spiritual devoutness, then what messages are we sending them. If we post pictures on social media of our kids dressed in skimpy bikinis and plunging necklines what do we teach them about modesty and how to live as someone devoted to Christ? if we blow off Sunday Mass in pursuit of other interests and priorities what example are we setting? We set the tone, and we probably don't even realize what tone we are setting.
We get so swept up in this world, and we are miserable because of it. We relentlessly pursue experiences to jolt our emotions and our interests in matters of worship, seeking emotional and physical high with parties, drugs, alcohol and high risk activities, when all we really need is Jesus in the Eucharist and time to just be still, so we can know. We busy our lives with useless activities and neglect the truly important and impactful ones that can truly give us life, in this world and the next. How many of us spend dedicated and consistent time in daily prayer, or at a weekly Eucharistic Holy Hour, or get to church more than just on Sunday, if we go on Sundays at all? These are the activities that can and will give us life, and the activities that are truly worth pursuing and promoting. Yeah, people will think we are freaks, but who cares, really? Let people call me a Jesus freak all they want, is there a better kind of freak to be? Absolutely NOT!
Jesus thinks I'm to die for, and that is exactly what He did for me, so that I can devote myself to him, and everlasting happiness, not the fake, short lived happiness of this world.
Let's highlight and show appreciation and admiration for those kids who remain faithful to Christ with their lives, in word, deed, action and lifestyle. That is the true accomplishment in a world that values sin and vice, and continues to spiral further and further each day into the abyss. It's a hard path to follow, and the sacrifices more than we can probably imagine. Being a freak is much easier for us older folk than our younger generation. That is why it is the truly heroic path. Let's start to recognize Truth and Virtue and not what this upside down world values as heroic. Jesus told us it would be difficult, let give our kids all the support and direction they need so desperately to fight the good fight, because that truly is what it is, a fight, and a war, and the stakes couldn't be any higher than the fate of our very souls.