During my years growing up in the Catholic Church, I always regarded the “faith” that I had come to understand (that is, all the beliefs, prayers, traditions and Catholic stuff we did) as something that was passed down to me from generations past. In other words, my parents learned from their parents, my grand-parents from theirs and so on and so on. They all knew the importance of learning about the faith and passing it on through their families. I had never given much thought to how this faith was connected to the future until recently when I heard one of our Clergy refer to our “deposit of faith” as something “on loan to us from future generations”!
As I processed this statement I felt increasingly more weight on my shoulders. Receiving something from the past was one thing but the sheer responsibility of ensuring that the “deposit of faith” was preserved and intact for the future…this was entirely different. Suddenly, I felt the situation was much more serious and it needed more introspection. If future generations were relying on me to pass it along or “pay it forward” what was I doing to make sure this would happen? If this was a loan to me from the future was I able to fully repay this deposit?With interest?
Unfortunately, I had to admit to myself that if I didn’t step up to the plate, this gift on loan to mefrom my children and my children’s children was at serious risk of being in default of payment! It struck me that it wasn’t fair that I squander what has been a source of guidance, love, comfort and strength in my life and not be able to pass this on to the future. In other words, you can’t pass on what you don’t know! I had a responsibility to learn about my Catholic faith and be ready to account for it and to share it with those who would follow me. As a parent, I have come to realize that this is a matter of life or death for future generations. If I choose to do nothing…then I have nothing to pass on and the debt I owe remains unpaid!