By Susan Ciancio
Last week, I visited the Ark Encounter in Kentucky. This 510-foot-long replica of Noah’s Ark was built to biblical scale and gives visitors an idea of what it might have looked like inside.
While some aspects of the ark were conjecture and neither feasible nor believable, overall the experience filled me with awe at God’s goodness. I couldn’t help but think of God’s promises and of the fact that we must trust in Him always.
Though we know this, it can be very difficult to trust, especially when things go wrong, someone gets sick, we’re treated badly, or we see the culture of death tightening its grip on our society.
But when we immerse ourselves in His love and goodness, we become stronger in our faith, we grow in our relationship with Him, and we find the courage to live out His will and work toward building a culture of life.
As I walked through the ark, I noticed an overall feeling of peace. People were smiling. They were polite and friendly. Those who worked there seemed genuinely happy that visitors were there. The whole atmosphere was awash in God’s glory.
Of the many displays, one in particular stood out. It was entitled “God equips His people to do His work.” I have thought about that quite a bit since I saw it. God does give us all special talents and gifts to complete His work here on earth, but it is up to us to take action and use those gifts.
Like the men in the parable of the talents, we must work to multiply what God has given us rather than bury our gifts and leave them unused. If we bury those gifts, building a culture of life will be impossible for us.
Often, people may think that it’s too hard to effect change or to make a difference. Not everyone has the time to volunteer at shelters, to help build houses for the poor, or to visit the sick or imprisoned. These Corporal Works of Mercy are certainly excellent ways to build a culture of life, but so are things we do in our own homes.
And in our homes is where building a culture of life starts. We teach the next generation the importance of living a life dedicated to God. We teach them to love and trust in God. We educate them on pro-life topics so they can go out and teach others. We instill in them the moral courage to stand up for “the least of these” in their schools, on playgrounds, and on ball fields.
These are the talents that God gives parents. It is our job to use them. Below are a few great ways to use your talents to build a culture of life within your home.
1. Instead of watching a secular movie, watch one with pro-life themes.
CLSP has numerous free movie discussion guides that will help you discuss these themes with your children.
2. Put down the phones and play a game together.
Giving your undivided attention and time to your children shows them that they’re important and valued. Children who feel valued are more likely to value others.
3. Pray together
Teach your children the traditional prayers. But also teach them to talk to God in both good times and bad. This helps them develop a reliance on Him. Talk about how God answers all prayers, but explain that sometimes He says no. Discuss the importance of trusting in His providence.
Talk to your children (in an age-appropriate way, of course) about current events. Relate the events and people’s reactions to them to Church teaching. Explain why it’s important to follow God’s laws, even in a secular world.
5. Give them saints to emulate
Children don’t need movie stars, pop icons, or athletes to look up to as role models. They need the saints—people who have faced adversity and who remain faithful despite them. CLSP has many lessons about saints, so you can learn with your children.
God has equipped you—and your children—to do His work. When we cooperate with Him, we will see amazing results. Let us strive every day to use His gifts to make a difference in our homes and in our communities.