Moving from “obligation” to true love

ob·li·ga·tion/ˌäbliˈgāSHən/
Noun:
An act or course of action to which a person is morally or legally bound; a duty or commitment.
The condition of being morally or legally bound to do something.

We’ve all heard of our obligation to attend Sunday Mass and we’re familiar with the term, “holy days of obligation,” but that emphasis on duty seems so dry when what we’re really talking about is worshiping the King of all Creation!  Duty is a great place to start (it certainly gets us there at difficult times), but we want our kids (and ourselves) to move from a sense of duty to having hearts filled with joyful anticipation and participation!  These ideas from other Family Formation parents may help your family move toward that goal.  And, as always, we encourage your comments on the topic!

  • Don’t ever fall into the trap of trying to decide on Saturday if you should go to Mass on Sunday.  If Mass attendance is an optional activity at your house, your kids will definitely see it that way as they grow up and have to make the same attendance decisions for themselves.  There are lots of reasons why it may be inconvenient to go, but we always present it as the top priority!
  • Anything that helps our kids prepare for Mass ahead of time is good.  When we’re organized enough to  mark the readings in our Bibles and talk a bit about the liturgical color for the day it always helps  them to start thinking about Mass before we even get there.
  • Whenever we’re on vacation or even a weekend trip, we plan where we will be on Sunday and make sure Mass is part of our plans.  It’s interesting to go to other parishes, and we have some great family memories with a more universal experience of the Church from doing this.
  • We like to read about the Pauline family in the Our Sabbath Scripture Books.  It would be hard to find a family more excited about being Catholic than they are!  Even though they’re fictional, the Paulines are a great example for our kids.
  • What is your attitude about going to Mass?  If parents are cheerful and excited about going, kids will eventually pick up on that.  If they are crabby and reluctant, kids will also see it as a chore.
  • When our kids have asked, “Do we have to go to Mass?” our response has always been, “We get to go to Mass!”  What an honor it is to be invited to the Heavenly Banquet here on earth!

 

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