The forward of Kathleen Basi’s new book, This Little Light of Mine says, “No one can teach well what he or she doesn’t know well. The best way to ensure that religious formation “takes” is for parents to live their faith, to be seekers alongside their children. Then, children see that religion is not something you learn about in childhood and consider finished. Rather, it must grow and change throughout life.”
This sums up the mission of this relevant “little” book, which is a terrific resource, not only for parents but also for children. Each chapter begins with quotes from Scripture, followed by a section aimed at Parents (with occasional references to the Catechism of the Catholic Church), a second section for the children and then “Just Live It” suggestions for how to live the virtue (often including an activity or craft.) Interspersed throughout each chapter, the author shares her own relevant life experiences.
There are many pertinent and inspiring quotes in this book…these are just a few:
On humility: “…means accepting what we don’t want to accept…trusting that God has a plan, even if it makes no sense to us,” and the author stresses that regular confession is important in this regard. Mention is made of St. Therese, the Little Flower, who lived the ordinary and did small things to the best of her ability.
On suffering: “As unpleasant as it is, suffering is good for us. It stretches the soul, offers opportunities to grow in ways we couldn’t without it.”
Under Matrimony, Physical Symbols (from the chapter: Sacraments and Private Devotion): “Though we most often think of rings and a white dress as symbols of marriage, neither of those is essential to the sacrament. What is essential is the physical union of the two becoming one (the vows). The marriage act is where the vows, which promise a complete self-gift, become real. This is why the Church teaches that all sexual acts must be open to the possibility of life, for how can couples claim to give and receive each other fully when such a major part of who they are is off-limits to each other and to God? The Church’s least popular teaching simply acknowledges what human beings were created to be. We are most ourselves when we use our bodies in harmony with the way God created them. (My emphasis). Through marriage, we become one; and as one, we look to the future of the possibility of life (openly and honestly.)“ In simple, easy-to-understand language, Basi explains why contraception and same-sex marriage cannot be “in harmony with the way God created” us.
On persecution (chapter 8): “When discipleship leads us to life practices that others find threatening or strange, like using natural family planning or living simply and less luxuriously than the norm, people may roll their eyes and call us out of touch with the real world, or make any number of other belittling, contemptuous remarks.” This is an excellent point: persecution does not necessarily involve martyrdom. If we are living our Catholicity, it will not be popular. I’ve seen my share of eye rolling and criticisms within our own extended circle of family and friends because of our openness to life (and our refusal to get sterilized), our outspoken pro-life beliefs and our stance against same sex marriage.
On faith (chapter 9): “Each of us is called to serve in unique ways; each of us has gifts and contributions to make that no one else can make, purposes for which God put us on the earth.” It is up to each one of us to discern how we are called to serve. One of the most important ways is to promote and bring the Catholic faith to others. As mentioned in the beginning, we cannot promote or teach a faith we don’t know. This Little Light of Mine is an excellent basic guide to Catholicism and is easy to read for both parent and child. It is a terrific resource that can help each member of the family learn their faith better.