John 3:16, “God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life.”
Culture, environment, exposure, conviction all play an important role in building our belief system. Tradition is an important element of the Catholic Church. Tradition in our families and in the faith we practice build and strengthen our belief system.
When a strong belief system is built in us it becomes a reference for the choices we have to make before us. A strong belief built over time and tradition is difficult to break. Most times it is locked deep in us that we do not even question it.
There is a strong case here for infant baptism that make cradle Catholics. Being born into a Catholic family steep in Catholic prayer and tradition installs a belief system in the child. The child will grow up knowing no other faith. Importantly the child will grow with only one truth in life and not have various alternatives. If we truly “believe in him so that we will have eternal life”, then our faith cannot be like a choice sitting on a supermarket shelf with many alternatives around it.
If we really believe in Christ and the Catholic Church, then we believe in the one true God and adopt the way of the Gospel as the way for our self and family. If this is the unshakeable belief for us then how can it be different for our child? If we experience this love of God and are convinced then why are we not wanting to build this belief system for our children?
There are many distractions in the world today; dangers that will take us away from the promise of eternal life. A strong belief system protect us from such dangers. Many of us lose our way in faith somewhere along our journey in life. We are especially vulnerable when life treat us well and we don’t have an urgent need for God. We stray from God happy and unconcerned until the day we hit a crisis. This is when having a strong belief system will save us.
Without the strong belief system we will be unable to hear God calling us back. “The Lord, the God of their ancestors, tirelessly sent them messenger after messenger, since he wished to spare his people and his house. But they ridiculed the messengers of God, they despised his words, they laughed at his prophets, until at last the wrath of the Lord rose so high against his people that there was no further remedy”.
Our belief system is built on the love God has for us. This love is faithful and unconditional. He waits for us while we stray. Love is ultimately an experience. When we stray and eventually return we experience, “God loved us with so much love that he was generous with his mercy: when we were dead through our sins, he brought us to life with Christ – it is through grace that you have been saved”.
It is through the continued experience of God’s love in life that our belief becomes unshakeable.
4th Sunday in Lent