Domestic Church: Finding Stability in Change

0817katie

by Katie Sciba

I sat across the table from a dear friend. Most of our chats were cheerful and fun, but this one was laden with stress. “We’ve packed up so many times,” she told me. “I don’t know how I can make the kids leave another place they love.” After crossing paths briefly at our small college in Kansas, my friend and I were reunited in Shreveport when the Air Force brought her husband to Barksdale. She was just days away from another move, and certain that many more lay ahead in her husband’s career. “The kids start over all the time. New schools. New friends. It’s fun, but it’s so hard to watch their hearts break over and over.”

It was the fall of last year when my family uprooted as well. A sudden move back to my hometown of Omaha brought change for not only our marriage and kids, but also for my mom and stepdad who graciously shared their home with a young family of seven plus a dog. Our new living arrangement was unconventional, but my husband and I were blown away by how happy and well-adjusted our kids were. Our whole environment was unfamiliar to them, but we held on to what we knew could stay the same. Andrew and I prayed with them and went to Mass with them. We spent time as a family and kept these things up as we moved yet again into our own house. Their world stayed the same in spite of shifting sands.

We learned in a real way that what anchors us is faith, and practicing it with our family held us fast in a whirlwind of transitions.

Changes in life are inevitable. Regardless if the Lord beckons us to new places every few years or if we’re born and die in the same town, there’s little we can count on to remain safely predictable. And though there’s a thrill to newness and adventure, it can take a toll on our hearts when we have to let go of what is familiar.

But our Catholic faith remains. In change, hurt or transition we can cling tightly to Jesus knowing he’s not going anywhere. He’s there speaking in Sacred Scripture, extending grace in the sacraments and the prayers of every Mass in the world. He comes into us as the summit of faith itself, the Holy Eucharist. And what soothes the soul is understanding concretely that we are made not for this ever-altered world, but for heaven; and so it’s the things of heaven we should invest in. As the primary educators of our children by our words and examples, we have to bring them along, not shielding them from external changes, but showing them what is sure and staid in life. Take your kids along to Confession. If they’re moving on to college, help them find the Catholic church on campus or in town. Read books from modern Catholics. Soak in the wisdom of the saints.

St. Augustine wrote, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord. And our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Throwing our souls into the certainty of faith will be the strongest consolation we’ll ever need.  •

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