Jesus said “Let the little children come to me… and “Unless you become like a child you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.” It is worthy of note that the Blessed Virgin Mary in Fatima, Lourdes, LaSalette chose to appear and speak to children. Today there are many enemies in the path of children leading wholesome, holy and happy lives. Therefore, let us propose some clear and concrete actions we can take to save the child from danger and put into practice the words of Jesus, Our Savior, who had a very tender heart and special place in His Heart for children.
- YES TO THE GOSPEL OF LIFE AND NO TO THE CULTURE OF DEATH! These words were expressed by Blessed John Paul II in his immortal encyclical “Gospel of Life”. First and foremost, we must reject abortion in all forms as well as the contraceptive mentality. If a child is prevented from being conceived and killed before he is born there is no child to be formed in society. Pray for the unborn child and be his voice who cannot be heard!
- BAPTISM. Parents should baptize their child as soon as possible! Unfortunately, for many, the social aspect of the “Baptism party” and the lack of money for it, can easily delay and block the grace of baptism, thereby preventing the child from becoming a son/daughter of God.
- PRAYER! A child is truly a “Human sponge”. The nature of a sponge is to absorb. A little child can sit in front of t.v or the computer and absorb vulgarities and ugly scenes that are all to easily engraved in the memory. Teach your child to pray a soon as possible. How inspiring to hear from the lips of little children the words: “Dear angel of God, my guardian dear….. Hail Mary… Our Father…. Jesus I love you…. Parents pray for your children, teach them to pray and pray with them!!!!
- FIRST COMMUNION & CATECHISM. Enroll them in catechism as early as possible so that they can receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus as soon as possible. Negligence, delay, procrastination on the part of parents in this area is deplorable!!!!
- SACRIFICE! Train your children when they are small to offer up little sacrifices so as to console the Wounded Heart of Jesus and the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. Do not underestimate the ability and generosity that a child might have. Remember the heroic sacrifices of the children of Fatima: Blessed Jacinta Marto and her brother Blessed Francisco. A sacrifice offered with great Love and prayer could save a soul for all eternity!
- MOVIES/DVDS. A picture is worth more than a thousand words. Why not expose your children to good movies. There are so many bad ones, but you purchase the good ones! Bad images are easily impressed in the mind; however, the same can be said with good images! Why not create an environment for Ignatian contemplation for children, by exposing them to good scenes and good images. A few suggestions: Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Lourdes and the old classic Marcellino Pan y vino. As such, we are forming Christian-catholic holy minds in our children!
- HOLY PICTURES, STATUES, RELIGIOUS ART, STAIN GLASS WINDOW. By exposing our children to these sacramentals, once again we are filling their minds with holy thoughts and disposing them for contemplative prayer, even as children. Either the imagination can be used for evil or for good. Our desire is that the minds of children be filled with all that refers to God and the salvation of our soul!
- TELL BIBLE STORIES. Parents should get into the habit of praying with their children as they put them to bed. In addition, why not tell a Bible story or an anecdote from the life of a saint. Consequently, the last thoughts of the day of the child will be of God or God’s friends, the saints! Great way to end the day!
- DAILY COMMUNION. After your child has made his first Holy Communion, it would be an excellent practice to take him to Mass and Holy Communion on a daily basis. If not 7 days a week at least a few days a week. The greatest action a person can do on earth is to receive Jesus, “The Bread of Life” with faith, love and devotion in Holy Communion. Parents, why not make Mass and Holy Communion the very center and heart of your day and of the day of your child/children! Jesus’ promise is eternal life! (Jn 6. Bread of Life discourse.)
- CONSECRATE TO MARY. Consecrate your child to Mary on the day of his Baptism. Renew this consecration often. Start every day by consecrating yourself, family and children to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We must always seek two special havens, oases, refuges from the tempests and storms of life: the SACRED HEART OF JESUS AND THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY!
In conclusion, for parents, the most precious gifts that God has given to you are your children. You procreated with God to bring them into existence. You must collaborate with God to bring them to heaven! May God bless you and help you with this most noble enterprise!!!!
Father Ed Broom, OMV, is Associate Pastor of St. Peter Chanel Church in Hawaiian Gardens, California. He is a member of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary and was ordained by Saint John Paul II on May 25, 1986. Fr. Ed teaches Catholic Ignatian Marian Spirituality through articles, podcasts, a radio show, retreats and spiritual direction.