It might seem unlikely that I would write a short blog about parenthood based on a 4th-century confessional writing by St. Augustine, but here goes...I promise it's good stuff. :)
In books II and III of his Confessions, Augustine wrote about his older teen years and bemoaning his waywardness, but he explained that something changed within him at age 19. He was in a course of study that prompted him to read a text called Hortensius by Cicero. In his reflections he wrote, "it was this book which altered my way of feeling, turned my prayers to You, Lord, Yourself, and gave me different ambitions and desires...I was on fire then, my God, I was on fire to leave earthly things behind and fly back to You" (Book III, Chapter 4). Powerful stuff! I love when I hear about individual's lives being transformed by the Spirit!
So, how does this transformational experience connect with his parents? I'd imagine that all of us want the young people in our lives or household to be this excited about God. Here's what Augustine continued to write in that confession:
"At that time, (you know this, O Light of my heart), I was still unacquainted with the Apostolic Scriptures. Yet the one thing in that exhortation which delighted me was this:...I was urged on and inflamed with a passionate zeal to love and seek and obtain and embrace and hold fast wisdom itself, whatever it might be. And in my ardent desire only one thing held me back, which was that the name of Christ was not there; for this name, Lord, this name of Savior, your Son, had been with my mother's milk drunk in devoutly by my tender heart, where it remained deeply treasured."
Moms and Dads, did you catch that?! Augustine recognized that he had wandered away from God, but he was able to find his way back to God because his mother had nurtured and kindled the relationship from his birth.
Because of Augustine's langauge, I think of today's Gospel lesson: "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Luke 12:34). May all parents live out this verse for their children - to put one's treasure in nurturing one's child in a love relationship with God.