Your children do not take as an example what you say, but what you are. One day I was taking the communion to the sick ones. While I was giving Jesus to a boy with severe cerebral damage, his mother said to the younger brother who was 3-years old”Recite some prayers”. And he objected: “I do not recite prayers”. I intervened saying the following: “Franchino does not want to recite prayers, he wants to speak with Jesus”, and I began to pray in silence.
Franchino clashed his hands and began to speak with Jesus, as he could. The child does not “say prayers” but “prays”, and to pray means to think and love God, it means to allow God into ourselves and give room to the Holy Spirit who prays within us. Children, teenagers, and adolescent need all this. But as a child learns to talk observing and listening, so it learns to pray observing and listening to others pray.
Many children and adolescents who are close to the Lord have parents, brothers, sisters, and neighbours who are close to the Lord. Who does not speak to the Lord, communicates with difficulty and is deprived of infinite human treasures, and easily blasphemes life without meaning.
Human beings cannot live on ideas nor on rules, but only meeting other people with whom they weave relations and relationships that involve life rules. Man is a “being for something”: only if he relates to the Absolute, he gives meaning to contingencies, to what passes, and establishes valid human relations. The solution to human problems is not something, but Someone. If, upon coming home the son asks where is mom, where is dad, and hears the answer “mom is praying” or “dad is praying”, the son receives the necessary nourishment for his need of Absolute and for the sense of mystery that is within him.
Today, young people do not live well because they have grown up malnourished and undernourished since they were young, in their hunger for God. The conversion to the One who is at the basis of being, solves the problems of the Man at root. When family life challenges faith, gather your children and answer life with faith. Christian maturity is to look for the will of God in the events; to make our will coincide with that of God is the most profound of prayer. It is Jesus’ prayer in the last act of his life: “Not as I will, but as thou wilt”.
Translated by Ecaterina Severin