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Having a Family in the World, Not of It

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There’s nothing mainstream about the Christian life. Our culture indulges in sexuality, gluttony, moral relativism and self- servitude, without giving much of a glance to its own inherent dignity and worth. Society loves stuff and uses people instead of the other way around, and success is often gauged by dollars over contentment and peace.

Christ gives us a different map, though. By His life He showed us how to love and respect souls, including our own. His sacrificial love defines morality, and He served others ahead of Himself. He beckoned people to live with a hopeful love for God, letting go of attachments that distract us from the imperishable crown of Heaven.

St. Therese famously said, “The world is thy ship, not thy home.” We’re bound for Heaven to be united with our Creator, but as long as we’re here we can fortify our families to be more godly than worldly, and the way to do that is to go against the flow.


Are your babies teething and you’re wiped out? Are your kids on the fence about the faith? Is your beloved falling away? Take your family to Mass. My friends, whatever weighs on you, go put yourself in front of the only One Who can bear it and enable you to do so.

“My 14 year old daughter isn’t so sure about being Catholic,” a fellow parishioner told me recently. “What am I supposed to do, make her go?” YES. Here’s why: 1) There is so much grace for us when we’re simply in the physical presence of God, especially for doubting teens who, for one reason or another, don’t want to be there. 2) Our emotions aren’t reliable guides for behavior, but they reveal important information about ourselves. Why doesn’t your son or daughter want to go? Losing interest in Mass is common among Catholics, especially once we lose sight of the intense miracle that it is. Refresh your knowledge by reading The Lamb’s Supper by Dr. Scott Hahn. If your children disagree with a given Church teaching, do a deep dive to understand the depth of reason and love behind it.

Encourage and make room for their questions as well as your own. As people committed to vocations, parenting or careers, we know that fluctuating emotions can’t be the determining factor for letting something fall to the wayside.


A commercial for Gabb Wireless said it best: “I’m not about to give my son access to the Internet, and I’m not about to give the creeps on the Internet access to my son.” My children weren’t born with discipline built-in. Their sense of boundaries, prudence and mental health is under construction, so handing them a device can be dangerous, not only to their peace of mind but to their souls. Phones are a Pandora’s box of videos, social media, texting and games all designed to get our consistent attention. When it comes to kids and online activity, less is best.

Because parents are our kids’ primary educators, we have to be the face of discipline for them, and that includes not only how much they use any kind of device, but also exemplifying moderate phone use AND living well. Get them outside or start a new book read aloud, which is as beneficial for our older kids as it is for the little ones. Teach them how to engage in real, connected conversation and problem solving. If they need a way to get in touch, check out safe devices from companies like Gabb or Pinwheel. Real life happens when we look up from the tiny screens we carry in our pockets.

Jesus Christ is the embodiment of living in the world, yet remaining detached from what secular society prizes. Receive the grace to do the same by being in and receiving His presence at Mass. When struggle comes your way and questions befall your soul, don’t let go of the very thing that will keep your hope alive. Ask Jesus for the courage to trust Him and experience the deep, abiding joy of authentic Christian living.

Katie Sciba is a national speaker and Catholic Press Award- winning columnist. Katie has been married for 15 years and is blessed with six children.

This article appeared in the June 2024 edition of The Catholic Telegraph Magazine. For your complimentary subscription, click here.


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