Welcome to Incarnation Church and School! Thank you for enrolling your child! I am writing to welcome you and to ask some tough questions: Is your faith growing or dying? What proof do you have?
As we consider those questions, think back to when your child was baptized. If your memory is outstanding, you will remember that you promised not once, but twice, to raise your child in the practice of the faith. At Incarnation Church and School, we are most pleased to help you be successful in raising your child in the practice of the faith. However, growth in faith is misunderstood. Some think that because we are a “good person” or due to God’s awesome love for us in Jesus we will automatically grow in faith. Nothing could be more mistaken! For proof, let’s just use common sense. Common sense tells us that success rarely happens by accident, without hard work. Indeed, success in our faith life is similar to how we are successful in other important areas of life, areas like parenthood, school, friendship, a job or a marriage.
The most important key to success is realizing that what we put into something is what we end up getting out of it. “Nothing in, nothing out”…and not just nothing out, but worse, “nothing in” usually means we lose so much, an opportunity is gone forever!! What do you put into your faith in Jesus? Somebody doesn’t want us to ask this question. Of course, the Devil, the Father of Lies, does not want us to ask this question. He wants our faith to die, ever so imperceptibly and slowly. Talk about a two-or-more for one, guess whose faith is dying if a parent’s faith is dying. You got it, a child’s faith, the most awesome of treasures, is dying! How do we make sure faith grows?
The way to measure whether our faith is growing or dying is to look to see what we are trying to put into faith in Jesus. Plain and simple, Sunday Mass attendance is one of the clearest barometers of whether our faith and the faith of children is growing or dying. On a weekly basis, Sunday Mass attendance measures our values: God or…something else. Of course, attending Sunday Mass is also one of the most selfless things we can do, since one of our primary reasons for attending is not simply to fulfill an obligation or even to get something out of it, but rather to pray for others. So many people need the help of our unselfish prayers and presence. Mass is a best way to help others because we tap into Jesus’s awesome presence in powerful ways. To be clear, all-school Mass on Friday does not fulfill the privilege and obligation of attending Sunday Mass. In addition to Sunday Mass, how else can I discern whether faith is growing or dying?
There are other tests of whether faith in Jesus is growing or dying. Do I pray with others, such as my spouse and children? Can I point to some spiritual book I am reading, some faith group to which I belong or some devotion which I practice? If I can’t point to concrete things that show I am trying to grow in faith, it is quite likely my faith, and the faith of my child, is dying. Thanks for being part of Incarnation School! Your participation and presence here is proof that you want your faith and the faith of your child to grow! What else can we point to that shows our faith is growing?
May we have a great school year! I pray that this school year might be a year of growth for all of us as we journey through it together.
Sincerely and with Love in Christ,Rev. Patrick L. Sloneker
Rev. Patrick L. SlonekerPastorIncarnation Catholic Church