Great words from Fr. Cantalamessa, the Preacher for the Papal Household at the Vatican. He offered this reflection yesterday:
"The witness is one who speaks with his life. A believing father and mother must be "the first witnesses of faith" for their children. (The Church asks this for them from God in the blessing that follows the rite of matrimony).
Let us give a specific example. At this time of year many children are preparing for first Communion and confirmation. A believing mother or father can help the child review the catechism, explain the meaning of the words to him, and help him memorize the responses. Such parents are doing a beautiful thing and if only there were more who did this!
But what would a child think if after all that his parents said and did for his first Communion, they never go to Mass on Sunday, they never make the sign of the cross and never pray? They have been teachers, but they haven't been witnesses.
Naturally, the testimony of the parents must not limit itself to the time of the first Communion or confirmation of their children. With the way they correct and forgive the child and forgive each other, with the way they speak with respect of those who are not present, with the way they conduct themselves before a poor person begging for alms, with the comments they make in the presence of the children when they are listening to the news, parents have the possibility of bearing witness to their faith every day.
The souls of children are like sheets of photographic film: Everything they see and hear in the years of childhood leaves a trace and one day the "film" will be "developed" and will bear its fruits -- for good or for bad."
- from www.zenit.org
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