I was ten years old. I slowly become aware that other families in our neighborhood had nicer things, newer cars, and more exciting vacations than my family. For the first time I voiced feelings of jealousy to my parents.
They could have responded in a dozen different ways, but I will never forget what my dad did. He pulled out his Bible, opened it to Matthew chapter six and read to me beginning at verse twenty five, where Jesus tells us not to be anxious about the things we have, rather to "seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness." (Matthew 6:33)
This is just one of many memories I have of my parents teaching me to follow the Lord. I also remember them encouraging me to tithe ten percent of the money I earned when I became old enough to babysit. They taught me how to be kind and include everyone by opening our home to people who were on the outer ring of our social circle. Most importantly, they taught me how to pray by their own daily example. Every morning my parents prayed together before my dad left for work, and then later in the day as a part of our homeschool, my mom would read to me and my siblings from the Bible and lead us in prayer.
I am so grateful for the example my parents set in teaching me to follow the Lord. I know it is in large part due to that example that I have remained close to the Lord throughout my life.
Today’s First Reading and Gospel speak to the importance not only of following the commands of the Lord, but teaching others to do the same. I confess that now that I have children of my own, I am daunted by this demand. More than anything I want my children to be close to Jesus, and though my children are still young, I can already see how the world around us seeks to pull them away from the truth of the Gospel.
When I worry about how I will teach my children to follow the Lord, I reflect on all my parents did for me, and realize the greatest teaching tool I have is my own obedient example. When we live out our obedience to Christ, we become teachers to all who see us.
How is your example bringing others to the Gospel? Examine your daily habits and see if there's even one simple one that you could change to better live this out.
Anna Coyne is a Saint Paul native, wife, mother, and convert to the Catholic faith. When not chasing after her two young children you can probably find her playing the piano, knitting, tripping over wooden train sets, or writing. Find out more about her here.