Faith Shared Is Faith Multiplied…

Recently, there was a faith-sharing program at my parish. The idea was to have one visitor for each religious education classroom who would spend 15-20 minutes with the children, sharing via a story, song, prayer(s), an experience, etc. from their faith journey and allowing for questions and conversation. It was remarkable to see the impact of such sharing. Not only were the children positively affected by the presence of the visitor and his/her sharing, but the visitors were also affected through both their interactions with the children and the act of sharing their faith. Beyond the shadow of a doubt, faith shared was faith multiplied!

In reflecting on this experience, I couldn’t help but think of my own family. I know what faith and my relationship with God means to me, where I stand today. I can also see how both have changed during the course of my lifetime. As a parent, I strive to share my faith with my children and to encourage a relationship with God. This is something I pray about and ask God to help my husband and me to do without going overboard. My greatest desire when it comes to this is that my children may come to know God and develop a relationship with God that is central to their lives, a relationship that they can call their own and to which they can remain faithful; not one forced upon them and not necessarily identical to mine outside of the basic tenets.

Sometimes I wonder though, what does faith and/or prayer mean to my children (elementary school and pre-teen) at this time in their life? What kind of impact might going to Mass, religious education, family life and prayer be having on them? Well, instead of continuing to wonder, I decided to try to check it out.

What do you remember most in terms of your faith experience so far?

My First Communion.

What about your First Communion?

I remember it because it was a big milestone in my Christian faith and it was really special to me. I got to drink and eat Jesus’ blood and body for the first time. Finally, I got to receive Communion after all those years of going to Mass every week and not being able to receive because I was too young.

So you finally got to receive the body and blood of Christ. How was that special to you?

I had waited such a long time to do it and had always wanted to be able to receive Communion. After I receive Communion, I feel like it’s the start of a new week and that all of my mistakes from the past week have been forgiven. After I receive Communion I feel happier. In the Gospel it says whoever eats my body and drinks my blood will never hunger or thirst. When I receive Communion I feel blessed and like I will never run out of faith.

What does it mean to you to “never run out of faith”?

It means that I will always believe. Every time I receive Communion I feel stronger in my faith. It’s good to have faith because it can help you to be a better person and God can help you through anything and everything. When you pray to God, God always answers, in one way or another, and He always listens.

How do you know that?

I know that God always answers in one way or another because God can speak to you in many different ways such as images, nature, or animals and God can help you to relax. For example, one time I had a big test I had to take and I prayed to God the night before about helping me not to be nervous. I was afraid that I would be clueless and I wouldn’t know what to write or what to put down for answers. When I was taking the test, the next day, I felt calm and relaxed and I wasn’t afraid about not knowing how to answer the questions. I prayed to God to help me not to be nervous and I wasn’t nervous and that’s one example of how I know that God always listens and answers your prayers. I still don’t know how I did on that test, but I know that God was with me.

How does that make you feel?

Blessed and happy.

What would you say to someone who doesn’t pray?

God doesn’t just help people who pray. He helps everyone. If someone doesn’t pray and they’re still going through a tough time, He will help them get through it. I think it’s a person’s choice whether they want to practice faith or not, but I would recommend doing it. Praying has helped me through tough times in my life and it would probably help others too.

……………………………………………………..

What do you remember most in terms of your faith experience so far?

When Jesus was talking about being the good shepherd and how He came for everyone, and not a particular group of people. To me, that means that everyone is equal in the eyes of Jesus. He didn’t just come to save Jewish people. He came to save any person in the world. He came to save everybody. This also means that Jesus can help anybody to be a better person even if they haven’t been a particularly devout person. It means that with His help we can all become a better person. I find this verse comforting because sometimes when I am really upset and I might feel like no one cares about me, it helps me to realize that, that is not true. God always cares about me.

“God always cares about me,” what’s that like for you to know that?

It helps me to feel comforted. It also helps me to feel like there is someone out there who cares about me all the time no matter what. Someone I can turn to for help.

What’s it like when you turn to God for help?

When I’m really upset, I can feel kind of desperate. Generally, when there is a problem, I pray for help. I ask God to help me and to help the situation. As I’m sitting there I feel like praying helps me. I pray and then I try to be quiet and I feel like God helps me to stop worrying. God answers my prayers.

What would you say to someone who doesn’t pray?

I would say to them, “Try it. God always listens to prayers.”

How do you know that?

My mom told me that. I think it’s her way of encouraging me that I can turn to God with anything. When I pray, it helps me to feel better. So maybe my mom is right.

……………………………………………………..

Wow! God is clearly answering my prayers. May God continue helping all of us to grow, to share, and to live in faith. Praise God!

“What was from the beginning,
what we have heard,
what we have seen with our eyes,
what we looked upon
and touched with our hands
concerns the Word of life–

for the life was made visible;
we have seen it and testify to it
and proclaim to you the eternal life
that was with the Father and was made visible to us–

what we have seen and heard
we proclaim now to you,
so that you too may have fellowship with us;
for our fellowship is with the Father
and with his Son, Jesus Christ.

We are writing this so that our joy may be complete.” — 1John1:1-4

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