The Catholic Defender: The Importance of Training from Beginning to End
To reach for the sky, to get where you need to go, you must plan and prepare to obtain the goal. To achieve means you've got to believe in yourself. You got to believe that you can move mountains if you have the faith. "Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about so great a cloud of witnesses, 'let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us"(Hebrews 12:1).
We are training ourselves and disciplining ourselves to obtain the goal. How does this begin? To have the best result, our parents should be the foundation that brings a Christian into the world. The family is so important.
Proverbs 17:6 states, "Children’s children are the crown of the elderly, and the glory of children is their parentage." Children are the future of the Catholic Church and we better be preparing them to take the baton for future generations. Folks this is not automatic. Hosea 4:6 warns, "My people are ruined for lack of knowledge! Since you have rejected knowledge, I will reject you from serving as my priest; Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children."
This is the problem that is taking place today with the attack on the family and the secularization of the United States. When both mom and dad are on the same sheet of music leading the instruction of their children, Catholics have a 90% plus rate that the children will hold the faith. When it all falls on mom and dad is no where to be found, even in the home, the children accepting the base of Catholicism drastically falls down to the average of 10 - 30 % range. Hence the continued discussion why organized Religion is failing and the Catholic Church in particular.
For both mom and dad, along the way there will be snares that will be set before you that you must maneuver through. "But refuse profane and old wives fables, and exercise yourself rather towards godliness. For exercise has limited value, but devotion is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come" (1 Timothy 4:7-9).
That is a most wonderful text especially for an athlete. It is so true! As you train for worldly pursuits, keep your eyes on the Kingdom of heaven. Assume that you are a child of faithful parents. You might feel that Religion was forced on you growing up and that the Mass is boring to you. I have ran into that criticism.
This is why the teaching Church should be helping prepare our youth for the Future. I went to a Catholic grade school and unfortunately, despite having good people teaching the basics, we are not trained to deal with Protestant Evangelicals, I run into many fallen away Catholics who were led astray due to a false teacher with a hand shake and a smile.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 states, "Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win. Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified." Notice that St. Paul does not take his own faith for granted lest he himself could be "disqualified". We need to hold the line
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16). St. Jerome once said that "ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ", this should become our field manual.
Take the dust off the binders and take another good look at the biblical teachings that give us strength and hope. In order to reach the goal set before you, this field manual will have to become a daily practice. Your word Oh Lord becomes a light unto my path should be our heart felt prayer.
Ephesians 6:4 has an important passage regarded for children, "Children, obey your parents [in the Lord], for this is right. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise, “that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life on earth.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up with the training and instruction of the Lord." That is coming from the 4th Commandment given to Moses on Mount Sinai. It does matter.
If we prepare our youth before they hit the college scene, they have a better chance holding the line if the parents are united in the faith and the following of it. The family that prays together stays together still holds true, but if there is divorce, rebellion, compromise, that can adverse faith terribly. I run into this many times and it is difficult getting them back, especially if they have been picked up by anti-Catholics, Secularists, or Atheists.
The Catholic Faith is really a team effort. "What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and filled', without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead" (James 2:14-17).
We must do the will of the Father, to pick up our cross and follow Him. It is the way of the cross! Post college hopefully you have survived the onslaught against your faith. There are many voices that are out to get your allegiance. This is why the Catholic Church should encourage not only the practice of the Faith, that is a constant, but Apologetic is very useful in understanding the faith.
We have seen many people return back to the faith or convert to the faith through Apologetic, through sharing the faith of the Saints, through the Miracles of the Eucharist, through the many Marian apparitions all over the world. There is so much in our faith that gives weight to the Scriptures that many today are rejecting. Many people see the division in Christianity and they fall into a state of self-deception. They fall into the delusion or illusion that is not reality. Their view of life becomes their reality.
The fruits of the Spirit is "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." (Galatians 5:22)
Like the military, or athletics, training is so important for the Christian practicing the Faith. I like to end this ditto, be sober and not fall away to any old wind that blows:
"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in company with scoffers. Rather, the law of the LORD is his joy; and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted near streams of water, that yields its fruit in season; Its leaves never wither; whatever he does prospers. But not so are the wicked, not so! They are like chaff driven by the wind. Therefore the wicked will not arise at the judgment, nor will sinners in the assembly of the just. Because the LORD knows the way of the just, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin." Palms Chapter 1
Our Faith must lead us to FOCUS, AIM HIGH, INTENSITY, TRUTH, and HEART.