I have been praying and pondering lately because there are lots of "opportunities" happening in my life and I'm not sure where to go with them. Let me preface by saying while not a convert, I am most certainly a revert. I spent the first part of my adult life saying "no" to God's law and suffering for that choice. It's wasn't always suffering, there were plenty of days that I was happy and fulfilled. Knowing what I know now, though, it was always fleeting. There were no roots to my joy. Coming from that background, I have some fear that my kids will make the same mistakes if I don't lead them in the right direction and some reservations about my ability to lead them since I often feel woefully underprepared in all-things religious.
I do not know my Bible. At all. I'm hoping, now that baby is almost three, it will become more a priority. I have been blessed with a child that is gifted in scripture quoting so she helps me a lot of the time. I am trying to bring more direct teaching into school when possible. We certainly point out when some situation is perfect for a Bible reinforcement. Lately, though, the discussions that happen just as a result of being open and riding the wave of the Holy Spirit have been too good to interrupt.
Today, for instance. It should have been a regular school day. However, looking outside at the sun and in our refrigerator, it was clear that we would need to head out for groceries. We were discussing a local family hour of adoration at breakfast and Mr. G said, "I like to go there". So, we headed downtown to the original Family Hour at the Oratory. I planned for ten minutes (to say decade #3...we said 1&2 on the way down). It ended up being 15 minutes. Bonus.
I suggested, on the way to shop, we stop by the 40 Days vigil, since we were driving near anyway. They suggested we pray decade #4 on the street. On the way, there was discussion of other faiths (#1 had been reading about Luther) and what they believe. I quickly realize how little I know about religion once the questions start (my one World Religion course was long ago). We talked about the Real Presence (since we just left adoration) and the role of the Blessed Mother and her Immaculate Conception.
We arrived, hopped out of the car, greeted the vigil members and began our decade. When we had finished, we started getting back into the car and one of the women approached me. She wanted to explain, in a very kind and reverent tone that, in her faith tradition, they don't believe in praying to Mary and that she felt uncomfortable asking for Mary's intercession which is why they said the Our Father but not Hail Mary during our rosary. I was taken aback (this had never happened before) and just smiled and told her that Mary is my constant companion as I journey through motherhood but also that everyone has to follow their faith as they see it. She agreed that we were all following Jesus and we left it at that.
I'm not sure if I handled the interaction with the woman at the vigil correctly (I have some trouble seeing this from the non-Marian perspective...why would you not use an ally who was that close to the Savior? Who can better lead you to Him than the one in whom He grew and formed for 9 months, not to mention who raised Him into a man?). I am, however, very grateful for the discussion that ensued in our car. The kids heard the exchange and, considering what we had been discussing on our trip from adoration, it was one of those "thanks for the extra discussion opportunity" moments. The Holy Spirit, from one five-minute interaction, provided the substance for 20 minutes of discussion about how we, as Catholics, view Mary and the Saints. I was blessed with some wording that, I hope, made it a bit more clear and they were renewed in their excitement to learn more. I love that. I love having these people around all the time so that when something like this happens, we're together to hopefully catch the opportunity.
In the end, I am conscious of my shortcomings as a Catholic mother when it comes to the "book" learning I should be passing on. I think, though, that learning day-by-day how our faith surrounds and aids us, especially in our interactions with and compassion for others...well, I'm very grateful for that blessing. As St. Katherine Drexel said, everyone has a different path. Perhaps we are the "unschoolers" of Catholicism...for now at least. I'm going to continue to follow this path, trying when I can to add in the book learning and I will trust that the Lord will witness our desire to follow Him and He will make it good.
We are blessed.