The doubt we owe our children
Two boys were walking home from church after hearing a strong preaching on the devil. One said to the other, "What do you think about all this Satan stuff?"
The other boy replied, "Well, you know how Santa Claus turned out. It's probably just your dad"
Passing on the faith to our children is a sacred duty, and the difficulty of that privilege is compounded by our own doubts. We don’t feel up to the task when we realize our shortcomings and inadequacies.
Often we need a time out to reassert our convictions. That is why we read scripture every day and attend church services and let God talk to us. But we owe it to our children to pass on what we know, even if we have doubts.
Recently I have been in contact with several young adults who were asking for answers to their doubts. I gave in to the temptation of sharing some of the ways I resolve my own doubts.
Let us start with Christmas. Remember the magic of the birth of the baby Jesus. Here is an approachable God, a non-judgemental God. Recollect all the family and faith filled memories that filled our hearts. That was easy.
Turn to the Resurrection of Easter Sunday. Even the apostles hid in fear and doubt. And Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, a sinner like us. She continued on to be a special Saint, a disciple to the apostles.
It is easier to have faith in the Resurrection if we read Acts of the Apostles. Jesus came back to shake them up a bit, fill them with the Spirit and equip them for the task our churches still carry on today.
The witness of the apostles is historical and true. Their martyrdom underscores their belief. “Truth sits on the lips of dying men,” Shakespeare said. The miracles then and now are real. Do the research.
The usual way of passing on truths is through the written word and oral witness. Both of these have withstood the scrutiny of doubters and persecutors. Today the number of martyrs for the faith is still growing.
Then we have the Doctors and theologians of the church! You may know some of them. I used to tell myself that before I gave in to doubts I would have to study at least as much as they have because they remain convinced.
In the end, faith is a gift from God. But we need to continue to ask for it. Our greatest Saints like St Teresa of Calcutta lived with doubt every day. We ask God for Faith, Hope and Charity, and we continue to listen to God’s Word. And that gives us the faith and courage to continue as disciples.
“Truly, truly, I tell you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I am doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.…” (John 14:12-13).
Jesus said to Thomas, “because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29).