In Celebration Fr. Roger Karban says that today’s readings bring up some essential questions of faith: “Where are we going with our lives? Do we have a specific direction? If so, does the way we actually live our everyday lives fit into the path we’ve decided to take?”
Fr. Karban tells of two of his Jesuit professors who wrote and lectured on the concept of the “fundamental option.” The two theologians were saying that at one time or another during our life each of us makes a fundamental option of how we’re going to live that life.
The professors went on to explain, Psychologically, the fundamental option is prepared by childhood and adolescent experiences and matured in the subconscious mind. It need not be expressed in a distinct, explicit act, but can be in a particular, significant deed which is a turning point in an individual’s life. Once made, the fundamental option tends to shape every subsequent act; it tends to last through life. Yet it can be reversed. The fundamental option tends to be confirmed as it is made explicit and worked out in particular situations, particularly when it requires difficult acts. However, it can be changed either in a sudden, tragic break in a person’s life, or by a gradually maturing process of conversion.
Fr. Karban notes that one of his professors most insightful observations was that a person’s fundamental option is “prepared by childhood and adolescent experiences.” That places a heavy burden on anyone who helps create those experiences, especially parents.
Fr. Karban says that whenever he baptizes an infant he always reminds the participating community that this child is being baptized into their faith. During an infant baptism it is the community’s faith that is being inquired about and emphasized, not the child’s. If the community does not have the proper faith, the child can’t be baptized. “It’s up to us to raise baptized children in an environment of faith so that when they reach the age at which they can make their faith options, it would be illogical for them not to mirror the option of those who have lovingly shared their faith and life with them.”
Fr. Karban points out that biblical youth didn’t attend religious ed classes or memorize catechism answers. They learned their faith by carefully observing their parents’ actions, then inquiring about the reasons behind them. Without these actions, faith in Yahweh wasn’t passed on to the next generation.
The question for us is how are we passing on our faith to our children through our actions? What do our children observe? When they emulate us will it speak of our belief?
Next weekend we will have the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick at all of the masses. It is a sacrament that reminds us that God is with us in times when we need healing. It is a sacrament that challenges us to be with one another.
Have a great week.