Inspired by Italy #1

A young girl, perhaps 9 or 10 years old, stood at a confessional booth in the Sacrament of Penance Chapel, one of the forward side chapels of St. Peter’s Basilica. She nodded several times with some vigor. I was left to assume the questions the priest was asking from inside that booth.

Meanwhile, a man sat alone in the middle of the chapel, praying.

Outside the ropes (because I wasn’t going into that chapel) I watched curiously.

It only took a few minutes to learn that the man was not, in fact, alone; the girl at the confessional booth was his daughter. The rest of their family was standing just behind me, which I only learned when the two of them passed by me to a younger boy asking, “What were you talking about?” and the father announcing, “She said she felt like she was floating on a cloud.”

It appears that this was his daughter’s first confession and, of all places, it occurred in what can only be described as the most influential, most important building in Roman Catholicism. For crying out loud, the Pope’s house isn’t too far away from that very building.

What struck me, however, was the fact that a dad was able to “walk with” his daughter through this pinnacle event in her life. His joy for her joy was what caught my attention.

Without making ANY evaluation of Roman Catholicism (yet) - Parents, this is your great calling – to pass on the faith to your children. Are you teaching them the Bible? Are you teaching them the doctrines of our holy religion? Are you praying with and for your children regularly? Are you modeling a life of grace and faith and repentance? Will it be your day of great joy when they embrace the faith of their parents?

This doesn't happen by accident. This demands intentional, thoughtful, perpetual labor on the part of the parents. I witnessed what I expect to be the culmination of a life of teaching and training. May God grant to us this same commitment and, even greater, this same result - a child confessing Christ for the first time.