We were at a First Holy Communion Mass yesterday when the priest, a Monsignor, begged the parents to please bring these children to Mass every week. He told them that the more consistently kids go to church when they are young, the more likely they will be to stay in the Church when they are older. Makes sense, right?
It got me thinking about the two times in my life that I could have very easily walked away from the Catholic Church. The first time was once I got to college; it didn't take long for me to stop going to Mass on Sunday. But, God intervened and He sent me my future husband, who, despite also being away at college, was still actually going to Mass. Of course, I started going again more to spend time with him than with Him, (BTW that was one time I was glad people held hands during the Our Father ;) but God was patient with me. It wasn't long before I became more serious about both of them.
The second time was after we were married for a few years. We had two small girls and yet we were still searching for something. We were pretty convinced that the Catholic church wasn't what we were looking for. We still were attending Mass fairly regularly, but it just wasn't interesting enough. I was doing my student teaching with three teachers, two of whom were very vocal Bible Christians. They had what I thought I was looking for. Fortunately, God intervened again, this time smacking me upside the head with a good dose of the Holy Spirit. After that, there was no turning back.
What I got to thinking about was whether those two events would have had the same impact on me if I had not grown up faithfully going to Mass? Even though I was a completely ignorant Catholic, and I really didn't know God at all, was the small opening that He squeezed through there as a result of all my childhood Masses? Of course, we can never really know what "would have happened if..." but I am thankful that God never gave up on me, and that my parents took me to Mass every week all those years. It makes me have hope that, in the event one of my children strays from the Church, God will intervene and grab them back, too, before it's too late.