Pray for children

Will you pray for God's little children?

Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven

This blog invites you to pray for the protection of children and young people. Will you pray for God's little children, from the unborn baby in the womb, the new born baby, little children of all ages and young people.  It could be your child you want to pray for or just any child.  You can pray before the Blessed Sacrament for one hour a week or before a tabernacle in your church.  If you are not able to make it to a church you can pray in your own home. Please join us as we pray.

This blog was set up under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ and our Blessed Lady are its patrons.

Whether we live or die we belong to the Lord

As always in the month of November we remember children and young people who have died and we pray for their souls. We will also pray for the souls of children and young people who are living. Whether we live or die we belong to the Lord. (Romans 14:8).

St. Matthew tells us in Sacred Scripture not to be afraid of those who (can) kill the body but (who) cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Mt. 10:28). It is for this reason we are praying for the souls of the living and the dead.

So, what is our soul? How would you describe it? The dictionary describes it as a person, or as the spirit and essence of a person. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes it as human life or the entire human person. But soul also refers to the innermost aspect of man, that which is of greatest value in him, that by which he is most especially in God’s image: ‘Soul’ signifies the spiritual principle in man. (CCC. 363). From her innermost aspect, in the Canticle of our Blessed Lady, Mary tells us that Her Soul, “proclaims the greatness of the Lord”, (Luke 1:46). Clearly, it is the source from which we draw our range of emotions, as it was with Jesus, who stated, during His Agony in the Garden: “My soul is sorrowful, even to death.” For me I would say my soul is the place within me where I meet God and communicate with Him. It is where God dwells within me, a tabernacle where he can reside.

Every spiritual soul is created immediately by God. It does not perish when it separates from the body in death and it will be reunited with the body at the final Resurrection. (CCC 366). When a person dies, if their soul is not in a state of grace, then it will need to be purified in order to see the Pure vision of God in Heaven (the Beatific Vision). This is why we pray for the deceased. (CCC 1030, 1032). One might say children and young people are pure, so why the need to pray for them? Not all are in a state of Grace. Our world is full of temptation and we were all born with original sin and because of this, most of us will need some form of purification. (CCC405). Let us pray for all young people who have died and remember their parents who miss them dearly.

We pray also this month for the souls of children and young people who are still living in this world. At Baptism the baby is given new life in Christ Jesus. It is welcomed into the family of God (CCC 1277). As the child grows, it receives the Sacraments of First Confession and Holy Communion and later, it receives the gift of the Holy Spirit into its soul, in the Sacrament of Confirmation. God continues to nourish the soul with His Sacraments and to give all the Divine help needed to attain Salvation. Because we are weak human beings born with original sin, we sometimes do things that are not pleasing to God. As Saint Paul puts it: “I do not understand what I do; for I don’t do what I would like to do, but instead I do what I hate.” (GNT Romans 7:17). Jesus Christ understood our weak nature when he taught us to pray His prayer to the Father: “…And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one”, (Matthew 6:13).

It is good to pray for the souls of children and young people living today, as there are so many temptations out there to lead them astray and the power of prayer can sometimes be their only help. Being young, one does not always think of owning a soul or indeed saving it. The emphasis tends towards outward bodily needs. Christians in any state or walk of life are called to holiness, (CCC 2013). “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect, (Matthew 5:48)”. Our Blessed Lady calls us all to convert to her Son, Jesus Christ, to live a life of prayer and of peace. In this time of Covid 19, there is far more time to pray, so let us pray for our young that they may be perfect, as their heavenly Father is perfect.

Love your neighbour as yourself

Photo - Tyler Nix - Unsplash

After much prayer and thought, our prayer intention this month of October is for the protection of young people against “Party Culture.”

This article is not to condemn young people but rather to try and understand their world of thinking and behaving, and to pray for their safety and protection. Not all young people are lured by the party culture but those who are, leave themselves open to self-harm and possibly a life time of regret.

As we are all well aware, Covid 19 has arrived in our world and is slow about going away. In the meantime, people’s lives have been taken out of their control and new rules and norms have had to be put in place by the world leaders/Governments. Most people find change a challenge, are slow to adapt to it, or never stop fighting against it. A lot is being asked of everyone including children and young people. Party culture has always been around in some shape or form. Young people are full of life and the very process of ‘growing-up’ and ‘maturing’ brings great changes and trials which they must face up to. Some meet these challenges with an undaunting spirit; fear of danger is not part of their worlds and often times it can be a case of ‘jump in’ without thinking. To corral, isolate or fetter these life-affirming souls for any length, with no satisfactory end in sight, results in the inevitable.

In June of this year, just as the world had begun to get a handle on the pandemic, the Guardian newspaper reported on parties and raves across Europe, sparking fears then, of a Covid 19 surge . Of course, there were other indicators to suggest this and not all came from the activities of children and young people.

In recent times we have read many reports of incidents where young people held parties or failed to observe simple Covid guidelines. On 22nd September, a rave was held in Oliver Bond flats, Dublin city. On the 29th September RTE reported on student parties continuing in Cork despite Covid 19 restrictions. On 29th September, large crowds of young people packed together partying at the Spanish Arch in Galway city. On the 4th of October, the youthful players, family members, supporters and inhabitants of the area, all celebrated wildly and without restrictions the victory of Blackrock hurling club in the senior championships, in Cork. Similar scenes in Meath, Waterford and Northern Ireland, prompted the GAA to suspend all club championships.

These are but a few occasions where the celebration of life’s successes were practised as normal by the younger generation (and in some cases, their elders). As previously indicated, it is not just Ireland that has this problem. Europe and many other parts of the world are experiencing partying without Covid restrictions. In Spain, vacant houses are being broken into, to house raves. Drink and drug use have come to the fore during the pandemic. Crowds swarmed the Great Wall of China during that country’s most recent holiday week.

Despite multiple warnings and instructions on how to keep safe and restrict the virus, many young people choose to disobey orders and do their own thing. As Christians, we are all part of the one Mystical Body of Christ. When one part of that body hurts, all other parts do too. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “Human society can be neither well-ordered nor prosperous unless it has some people invested with legitimate authority to preserve its institutions and to devote themselves as far as is necessary to work and care for the good of all. The authority required by the moral order derives from God… Perhaps some young people seek parties, noise and worldly ways because they do not know God, perhaps do not seek Him; or simply choose to disobey Him. St. Teresa of Calcutta says in her Essential Writings that God cannot be found in noise, distractions or agitation. Saint Augustine, a saint who probably would understand young people, as he was a wayward child himself, said: “Our hearts are restless, until they rest in God”. Is it this restlessness that stirs the hearts of our young people? When obedience is a thing of the distant past other innocent people will suffer as a result.

The elderly, the sick and the vulnerable who keep the Covid 19 rules are at the risk of prolonged suffering and ultimately painful death, as a result of the lack of action of some others, including their young and not so young relations; and they worry about the harm that the young people are doing to themselves.

Let us remember, so, our restless young people who constantly put themselves and others in danger, as they pursue the “party culture”. Let us pray that their leaders, elders and betters show better example to them, than some have been displaying off late. May their hearts seek God, may they find Him and may they rest in Him alone.

 

References:

Guardian Newspaper, June 26th, 2020
www.thejournal.ie
Irish Mirror online
Irish Examiner
CNN.com
CCC1897
CCC 1900

Child of God
We are delighted to post our new video on prayforchildren.net. Many thanks to Joanne Kieran, a well known Drogheda musician/composer who composed the wonderful song "Child of God" and who has given us her kind permission to use it. We hope you enjoy the video and continue to pray for God's little one's.

"I will strengthen you and help you." Isiah 41:10

September Intention

This month we are praying for the protection of children and young people against the dangers of the cyber world. Today we live in rapidly changing times. Technology provides us with the most modern, fastest means of communication, to every part of our world. In these challenging times, it offers great advantages, particularly to the disadvantaged and most isolated of us. But, it is also the means by which those most vulnerable of us may be targeted for all the wrong reasons.

I remember when our youngest daughter was two and a half years old. My parents were babysitting her for us. I told my mam to put on our daughter’s favourite, children’s video and she would watch it. My poor mam did not have a clue how to turn on the video player, never mind put in a video tape. Our little bundle quickly ran over to the machine and said: “It’s OK, Granny”. She selected the right tape, turned on the machine, put the video in, pressed the play button and proceeded to watch the film. My bewildered but proud parents could not believe how much the little child knew about technology; and that was nearly 24 years ago! How much quicker and knowledgeable children and young people have become these days, with the rapid advances in the use of the internet, mobile phones, Bluetooth and wireless technology.

The many dangers associated with the use of technology in a modern world have been well documented and highlighted. Access to even a small part of what is on offer to our children and young people can be very dangerous. The protections that we as parents and carers are required by law to provide, are more difficult to erect, when barriers crumble at the touch of a button; our children are no longer allowed to be children. They are being stripped of their innocence and opened up to a world of exploitation, artificiality, vice and bullying.
Yes, parents do their very best to protect their children, especially when they are young and mostly confined to a home environment. But work commitments, financial considerations, peer pressure and the bombardment of the family unit with promises of wonders unconfined wear down the need to be vigilant. “Where would you like to go today?”, was one of the earliest, great enticements, to sign up to the internet. That offer remains, but has been expanded, to allow you access to the thoughts of anyone, anywhere who has created their own blog. It is an open invitation to connect with your favourite personalities or even the President of the United States.

Our wonderful, beautiful, intelligent children whether by their own inquisitive means or egged on or leaned upon by their peers, seem to have an ability to find out more than they should. The privacy and safety of home life is invaded and nothing is sacred any more. Bullying, where it once was done outside of the home can now be done in the child’s bedroom. Heartland is a Canadian family drama, the most recent episodes of which featured the impact of cyber bullying on one of the central, younger characters, Georgie. It highlighted the fear and anxiety caused by the cruel, on-line comments, on an otherwise talented but very impressionable person. There was no place for her to hide, either from the on-line comments, her own innate insecurities or the cruel taunts in the street, generated by the blog. She was forced to try and physically run away from it. Fortunately for her, she ran into the arms of her mother, who offered her the initial reassurance required to calm her down. Through the magic of the script, the main culprit was identified and Georgie went on to use her own talent and regained self-belief to overcome the damage caused. In real life, not all endings are this happy.
Gambling on line, is also there at the push of a button; adult and porn sites also, to entice anyone who presses the wrong button, or even the right one. Advertising and articles on news feeds pop up to influence the thinking and beliefs of anyone who will read them, irrespective of the content. Incorrect information, ‘fake news’ and certain trends are dangerous in the hands of our impressionable young, and even not so young.

Correct balance and informed judgement, are values children and young people require to thrive on. As one trolls through the news feeds, there is an overwhelming sense of too much glamour, perfect hair, pure white teeth, perfect figures, and ways and means to help you obtain them. There is an attitude that things must be “perfect” in an imperfect world. Pressure is placed on the shoulders of our young and this leads to anxieties. A front-page article in the Sunday Independent of 13th September, 2020, highlighted the soaring use of anti-depressant medication among children, under the age of 11 years. In total, children up to the age of 15 have been prescribed anti-depresssants, 4,571 times over the last 10-year period. The report did not include figures for this year, which encompasses the Covid-19 pandemic.
My mother had an old saying: “It’s no use locking the stable door when the horse is gone”. Another one was: “Prevention is better than a cure.” It is easy enough to dismiss these adages as hackneyed but they do have a basis in sound reasoning. With the world full of Covid 19, diseases and many other viruses, and, as a result, people having to lockdown, isolate, cocoon or quarantine, there is a much greater opportunity, perhaps requirement to communicate through the means of technology. Parts of our lives are orbiting in cyber space. While this can no doubt, be good and helpful, as a means of vital contact, especially between families, overuse can also draw young people away from family members; and isolate them.

We pray that God’s little one’s will not be lost in the world of cybernation and will not fall prey to evil within it. Making space and time for God, family and the beautiful world of nature that God has given us is important. Let us pray for our young, that they will have a healthy and safe balance in their use of modern technology.

Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

August 2020 Intention

We pray for the protection of children and young people against the vices of sexual exploitation and behaviours against the body.

This month, after much prayer and thought, we decided to write about the evil that sex offences can cause to children and young people. Sex abuse and deviation were listed among the sins committed by the entire population of Sodom and Gomorrah - despite Abraham’s pleas, no innocent people were found. In Genesis 19, there is an account of Lot offering his virgin daughters to the townsmen of Sodom, if they will spare the two men (actually angels from God), who have sheltered in his house. Shocking as this was when first suggested to us as young children growing up in Ireland, the modern proliferation of sex trafficking, prostitution, paedophilia and sexual abuse in families, parishes, sports clubs and even the scouting movement, has, it can be argued, numbed us into a state of complacency, when what the situation clearly demands is urgent action on all our parts, if the innocent children and young people directly concerned, are to be saved. We regret that such a wide area of vital interest cannot be covered properly in this article.

Having spent my teens growing up in the company of a number of paedophiles, and knowing first-hand the terror and evil that children and teenagers suffer at the hands of evil, anytime that I have read the many accounts of sexual exploitation of children and young people, proliferating in the media, has brought back unpleasant memories. In the past few years, while travelling in Spain, inglorious weather, towards heavily advertised, beautiful family beaches and resorts, sometimes accompanied by our children, we would notice very young girls at roundabouts just outside town limits. They would be scantily dressed, heavily made up and obviously…waiting. While in the backs of our minds, we feared the obvious and passed their presence off to our children with some lame excuse, it was confirmed for us later, that what we were witnessing were acts of ‘lawful’ solicitation. True, there were at times some older women, but they were mostly, it appeared, young girls, alone or working sometimes in pairs; and on an approach road to the same roundabout, there were sometimes people selling agricultural produce. The girls are still there, to this day and my heart breaks to see these beautiful souls ending up like this.

My husband and I would class ourselves as ordinary people, somewhat cocooned perhaps, especially in the present climate of Covid-19, but our ‘sheltered’ upbringing and present lives have not protected us from being exposed to the horrors of perversion and exploitation. We must think of the people who feel a need to avail of these services because they are the customers in this ‘business’, without whom it would not exist. We must also think of society as a whole and the terrible damage that is being done to its overall reputation, while these crimes continue, too many to be crushed by the machinery of justice administration. Collectively, we are all ‘infected’ by this particular sin and ironically, the safe distancing and social exclusion required to ‘defeat’ Covid-19, appeared to bring some relief to the victims, and society as a whole, from these devious and immoral acts, if only for a short while. How can we strengthen the lessons learned from these practical approaches to one problem, which might also solve an even greater one?

Prayer might seem useless but to those who pray with real faith, it can move mountains in ways we never truly know. Sex crimes against children and young people are crimes that have been and will always be in the world, as long as evil exists. Broken trust, lies and deceit are all part of the behaviour. The little child and teenager are the silent hidden victims. They have no voice, only the still cry, the quiet, desperate prayer for help. Like our Blessed Lady, they learn to silently ponder all these things in their hearts. This is not something any child or teenager should have to deal with.

So, please, if you can, pray for this intention and ask God to help those  little ones and protect them from such evil.

The Lord hears the cry of the poor

For the month of July we are praying for children and young people affected by poverty.  

We all know of the terrible poverty in our world and now with covid 19 there will be even more.  Many people have lost their jobs, young and not so young.  The lower paid jobs have been hit and this only means that the poor will become poorer. I often give out because so many begging letters from various charities come in to my mail box. Recently, I received as many as three letters from the same charity in one week along with several others from other agencies. When this happens, I always ask myself:  "what does Jesus tell me to do in Sacred Scripture", and the answer is "Give to everyone who asks." This may not always be possible, but to try is the thing.  It is important not to forget those who have less than we have.  We are all knit from the same fabric; we all belong to God. If it is not possible to give money, at least give your time and a smile.  Oftentimes, in a world starved of love a smile is all that is needed.  A smile can warm a soul and give it the love of Jesus.  Sometimes, it can be the little things that will help the poor.  The person sitting on a wet street may ask for money but may get much more when the person giving the money asks them how they are; and offers a listening ear or a warm smile. "I care to take time to recognise Jesus living in you", is the message you give to that person.  Othertimes, it could be a person you know who has very little with which to make ends meet, and just by offering food in a kind way, can often be a lifesaver.  When you give to a family in need, you give to their children; and you give to Christ.  I am often surprised to hear some people say: "It's my money, I earned it".  Everything we own is God's.  Everything we have has been gifted to us by God.  This month of July, let us remember the poor in our streets, in our town, perhaps living beside us and in our world.  Let us see the face of Christ in the poor and give as generously, as he gives to us.

Wait for the Lord, Be Strong and let your heart take Courage

June 2020 Intention

As the Covid 19 virus still continues in the world, so we continue to pray for all who are affected by it. This month of June, we pray for children and young people who have had their lives put on hold and have entered a time of waiting. Some are waiting with God, while others are waiting for God. We pray for all the children around the world who are waiting for Jesus to come into their souls upon the reception of their First Holy Communion. We pray for all the children who are waiting for God to send them His Holy Spirit in the sacrament of Confirmation. We pray also for all the leaving certificate students and all young people doing exams, who have to wait with God, and pray for a good grade based on past merits.

In our prayer, we ask God to be with all these children and young people and to grant them the grace to wait. Waiting has always been part of God’s plan for His people – Psalm 123 – 2, James 5: 7-8, Luke 12: 35-40, Romans 8: 23-25. Moses liberated the Israelites, who had been waiting and praying, after many years of enslavement by the Egyptian Pharaohs. Jesus had to wait: The Jews tried to capture and kill Him on more than one occasion, but he eluded them, as His hour had not yet come. Some saints often waited for things to happen: The Little Flower, St. Terese of Lisieux, as a young girl, had to wait to enter the convent. Now, in 2020, the world has entered a time of waiting.

We pray that our young people will grow in patience and understanding, during this time; and will be all the richer and better off for having this down-time with God.

In the quiet Lord, I seek your face.

For now and the foreseeable future we will pray for people suffering from Covid 19. We are all God’s children no matter what age we are, so it is fitting that we pray for everyone during this pandemic. This virus has taken the world by surprise. We were all going about our everyday lives, when suddenly they were drastically altered and everything came to a stand still. One might ask where is God in all of this? How could he let this happen?

One truth we must all grasp is that God is not in anyway, directly or indirectly, the cause of evil. He illuminates the mystery of evil in his Son Jesus Christ, who died and rose in order to vanquish that great moral evil, human sin, which is at the root of all other evils, Cf. (Com. of CCC 57). When I was much younger, many times I remembered my mother saying: “Out of evil, cometh good.” As I grew up, I thought of these words when bad or evil things happened and I learned to see the goodness of God at work in every situation. The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that faith gives us the certainty that God would not permit evil if he did not cause a good to come from that very evil. This was realised in a wondrous way by God in the death and resurrection of Christ. In fact, from the greatest of all moral evils (the murder of his Son) he has brought forth the greatest of all goods (the glorification of Christ and our redemption), Cf. (Com. of CCC 58).

To try and make some sense out of all that has happened over the last few months and is still happening, let us look at things through the eyes of a loving God. The worst part of this virus is the number of people, especially the old and infirm, that have died. Some were physically weak, with underlying symptoms and/or co-morbidities, yes, but none of them expected to die as the result of this virus. God in his mercy and love took them home to be with him to share a much better life with Him in heaven. What about all the younger people who died? God also took them home to be with Him. Death is the inevitable end to our earthly lives. We all must go through it. We never know when it will happen, only that it will. God gives us hope to deal with death: the hope of resurrection to new, eternal life.

Jobs have been lost, while others work from home. In the most pleasant of Spring weather, the café culture has vanished, pubs are closed. Fiestas and public events are banned indefinitely. Stock markets have plummeted, wiping millions of share prices. But there are definite pluses. Cease-fires have been called in countries where wars have been raging for many years. Drug dealers in some parts of America use their extensive network of ‘runners’ to deliver food parcels to those most in need. In all that has happened, it has brought a certain calm and greater silence to the world; a quiet place where we can breath again. We can hear God’s whisper once more. God had seen the way the world was going. It was as if He had said, ‘Stop, enough of this madness! I am in charge and these are my people. I want to help them.”

I have heard my adult children commenting on how the lock down has helped them. Two of them are currently out of work as a result of the pandemic, but they are not phased by it. They are glad of the rest, the quiet time. Our sons, who are very busy with work, are also glad not to have to travel, as more can be done at home. Our married daughter is now working from home and is so happy to have so much more time with her husband and her dog. Her job involved some travel and many long evenings. Michael and I are in lockdown in Spain, completely cut off from family, friends or neighbours in Ireland. Yet, we have had more contact with them, through the wonders of technology, than if we had been at home.

Physical attendance at Mass is no longer possible, but thanks to the wonderful kindness of our priests in our Irish Parish, we are enriched through daily mass and Eucharistic Adoration each day on the web-cam. We are no longer able to physically receive Jesus in Holy Communion, only in Spiritual Communion and yet we feel God has nourished us completely each day with his Sacred Word. We, as a couple now pray each day, side by side. We watch Mass and Eucharistic Adoration and we even do Lectio Divina, once a week together. Would this be the case back in Ireland if things were “normal”?

This pandemic is a great threat to our health and the structures of our existence. There are small but significant groups of people in each country who continue to battle on behalf of each man, woman and child to save their lives, a thin white line of critical intervention. How many new saints are there now in heaven, so many wonderful people who have laid down their lives in the service of others? “No greater love has man than to give his life for another.” So many people are following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, in their ordinary everyday life situations. We are called to a life of holiness, to a life of love of God and love of neighbour as one’s self. I have read so many stories since the outbreak of Covid 19, especially those of doctors, nurses, care professionals and many others who mopped a fevered brow or held the hand of a dying person. Theirs was the voice of love and re-assurance when people were alone and isolated, in the forced absence of loved ones and family members, who were unable to be with them on their journey from death to new life. This is true holiness, loving one’s neighbour as oneself. This love is also an interior reality; the grace of the Holy Spirit, which makes possible such love. Cf. (Com of CCC 420).

Finally, after a Lenten time of imposed and voluntary penance for all people; during the silence of Easter with no ceremonies, and empty churches; where even the Holy Father in Rome had no congregation, our religious people, normally so busy at Easter, were given a much needed rest, a gentler, simpler time with God. He has called each and every one of us back to Himself. In silence, He desires that we come back to Him, that we trust in Him and we spend this valuable time with Him, resting in His gentle arms. Amen.

Covid19 Prayer

Dear Jesus,

A terrible evil is upon us now,
The evil of an unknown virus.
Many have died,
Others are very ill, Isolated and alone.
Jobs have been lost and the future looks bleak.
More will go hungry
And happiness will seem a part of our past.

Help us to cling to you in faith.
Do not let us fall into despair.
Show us the way of Holiness and
Send us the Holy Spirit to guide
And instruct us on that journey.
Please turn all our sadness into a vision of hope,
The one that Jesus Christ gave us on the Cross.
Dispel all fear from our hearts and
Fill them with your holy love.
Teach us to work together with a spirit of unity
And strengthen us with the Word of God.
Reveal yourself to us in our neighbours and
may we share with them in charity and love.
Remind us to count our blessings in
Each living moment.
Should our time of death arrive,
Fill us with thanksgiving and praise
And lead us to the place where we will
See the glory and vision of God.
Amen.

 

They may look but not perceive, listen but not understand.

This month of February we will be praying for children, young people and their families who have been affected by the evil of drugs. Our world is rapidly changing and with each change comes more dangers.  Drugs and addictions are vastly becoming a major scourge in our society. Let us pray for all who have been affected, that they may find a way back to the light of Christ.  

Money is the root of all evil

In an ever-changing world, one might ask what is its driving force? A very good answer might be, money. As a young person growing up, I constantly heard my mother say that money was the root of all evil. I heard what she said but it never really sunk in until I was much older. The desire for riches and the ‘quick-fix’ felt by some children and young persons, leads them to fall into the hands of the ‘wrong people’. This month, specifically, we are praying for young people and their families who are affected by the scourge of illegal drugs, their trafficking and use.

Drug pushing, use and addiction are awful evils in society. Lives, families and souls are destroyed by them. Only last week, all of us in Drogheda saw the true evil that crime and drug abuse causes. A young man lost his life in the most gruesome way anyone could have imagined. There are no words to describe what his family are suffering.

That five-letter word, "Money" was wholly or partly to blame. His parish priest pulled no punches at the young man’s funeral when he said: “…I hope that his death will be a warning to other young teenagers who are being groomed by the ruthless criminals, that the promise of money and gifts will inevitably end in tragedy.” Indeed, in society as a whole, everything has been cheapened; even life itself. As a mother my heart goes out to all mothers who have to suffer because a child of theirs has got caught up in addiction of some kind or another. You wonder what will come through your door next. Your fears heighten at the thoughts of recent events: ‘Will I be burying my child in the near future?’ This is no life for a parent, not to mention the horrors that the young person himself or herself has to endure. What has gone wrong in society?

When I first became a mother at the tender age of 22, I wondered how I was going to rear this beautiful child, given to me by God. When I bought a washing machine, a new TV or any household item, I was given an instruction manual with it. Where was the book of directions for my new bundle of joy?

There is the most amazing manual given to us by God on how we should live and not live. It’s very in-depth and needs constant referring to. What is this manual and where do I get a copy? Well as life has taught me, it is of course the Holy Bible and it can be purchased in most good book shops. Growing up as a young person the Bible was something you used in school or in church and that was that. It was only in my married life that I came to take it up, read and find great instruction and comfort in it. Our Christian faith teaches us all we need to know and do, to live good lives.

Another saying I have heard over the years is "you cannot put an old head on young shoulders." This is true in a lot of cases. Robbie Williams may have picked up on something that George Bernard Shaw once said about youth being wasted on the young, but this does not have to be the case. God who made us, loved us into being and wants only what is good and right for us. He gives us all we need in life through the family we live with and the people in our communities.

Wisdom is a gift that God gives us, especially when we ask for it in prayer. The book of Proverbs speaks about choosing wisdom (Proverbs 4:1-27). It tells us that the path of the upright is like the light of dawn, its brightness growing to the fullness of day; the way of the wicked is as dark as night, they cannot tell the obstacles they stumble over. I had often thought as they were growing up, that I didn’t have enough wisdom to instruct my children correctly. As I grew older, though, my children would turn to me and ask for some sound advice on different issues; and I could feel wisdom pop up its wise, old head.

Our dignity as human beings is found in God alone (Ps. 8:4-6), not in money or possessions. We tend to be easily led and tempted, often towards the things that bring us down and are not good for us. Jesus Christ, as a young man while here on earth was also tempted, but he overcame his temptations by entrusting himself to His Father in heaven through prayer, (Lk4: 1-14). Jesus shows us how to overcome temptations and desires. Indeed, in the Lord's prayer, "The Our Father" (Mt. 6: 9-13), there is a line where we ask God to help us not to be led into temptation. Jesus Christ lived on earth as a human being, but his nature was also Divine. He knew the struggles and temptations we would have to endure here on earth and he gave us all ways to overcome them. (Mt. 5: 29). As baptised Christians, we have the Spirit of God with us and in us, 1Jn. 4:13. What greater power can one have than this?

If only we would listen to God's voice and not harden our hearts with evil and sinful ways, how much better life would be for us all! We came into this world with nothing and we will leave it with nothing except for the good we do while alive. People who long to be rich, are prey to trial. They get trapped by all kinds of foolish and harmful ambitions, which plunge them into ruin and destruction. The love of money is the root of all evil and there are some who, pursuing it, have wandered away from the faith and so have given their souls any number of fatal wounds – (1 Timothy 6: 8-10). Life does not have to be like this as change back to the right path is always possible; and love can conquer all. In the great parable of The Prodigal Son, the father waited for many years with love in his heart and open arms for wandering son to come to his senses and return home by the right road. He did not close the door on him. No, his was always open, waiting, hoping and praying for his child’s safe return. This is the example that all parents must follow. Children on the other hand have been asked by God to be obedient to their parents and when they follow this path, life will flow much smoother.

Yes, there are many temptations, challenges and trials in our world and there is much evil too but what we must remember is that there is always hope: Nothing is impossible to God. Pray often, asking for God's help; and when lost as to what to do next, take out that wonderful instruction manual on life, and search for the answer.

When we read the Word.
Meditate on the Word.
Pray with the Word.

Its the year of the Word. Why not read a small passage of Sacred Scripture each day and let God speak to your heart.
Here is a light explanation of the Mass. Why not read it with your child/children it is important that we all understand what happens at this holy sacrifice.