ColumnsNaming Grace

Remembered through all generations

Georgetown University and Harvard Law School graduate, University of Chicago professor, United States Supreme Court Justice. Acknowledging Justice Scalia’s many achievements, Reverend Paul Scalia, preaching at his father’s funeral Mass, continued, “but more important to us and to him, he was dad. He was the father that God gave us for the great adventure of family life. … He loved us and sought to show that love. And sought to share the blessing of the faith he treasured. And he gave us one another, to have each other for support. This is the greatest wealth parents can bestow.” Evidently, Antonin Scalia and his wife, Maureen, had cultivated faith, bearing rich fruit through their nine children and 36 grandchildren.

This Sunday’s Gospel causes us to pause and ponder on the fruit we are or are not bearing. Coupled with the first reading of Moses’ encounter with the burning bush, our fruit is clearly associated with remembering, “I AM” “through all generations.” Pope Francis recently posed questions on bearing fruit: “What is the inheritance I will leave with my life? Will I leave the inheritance of a man, a woman of faith? Will I leave this inheritance to my children?” Later, he asserts: “The best thing we can pass down in life is our faith, faith in the true God, the God who is with us always, God who is our Father never disappoints.”

As parents, our primary task and our greatest legacy—our richest fruit—comes from creating a family of love where God’s name is “remembered through all generations.”

St. John Paul II reflects on the importance of parents as leaders of faith in their own domestic churches: “Thus the little domestic church, like the greater church, … ought to be a place where the Gospel is transmitted and from which the Gospel radiates…the future of evangelization depends in great part on the church of the home.”  Bearing fruit—forming our children into disciples of Jesus Christ—remains our first and foremost duty, privilege and joy.

As parents/grandparents, we bear fruit as we name grace—God’s presence—in the domestic church by loving and serving one another. We name grace by taking off our sandals and recognizing our homes as holy ground. We name grace by praying, sharing the Gospel and proclaiming God’s wonderful works. We name grace by bringing our children to the community of faith and participating in the perfect worship—the perpetual remembrance of God through all generations—of the Mass.

Many parents and grandparents have spent years/decades faithfully cultivating, fertilizing and watering their children’s faith, with little or no evidence of bearing fruit. But we must not be discouraged, for the Lord is kind, merciful and patient. God witnesses our suffering, hears our cry and listens to our prayers on behalf of our children and grandchildren. God is faithful for he is the Father who does not disappoint. No matter how great our achievements, nothing is as worthwhile as making God known and “remembered through all generations.” Now, that’s good news!

Naming Grace in the Domestic Church reflects on the Sunday readings through the lens of a parent/grandparent, aiding parents in their vital task as “first heralds” or “first preachers” of the Good News in the home.