An old custom that fathers and mothers can repeat every day
Attention, dads and moms! You have a beautiful mission of life: to present your children to God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains: “By the grace of the sacrament of matrimony, parents have been given the responsibility and privilege of evangelizing their children. From an early age they are to initiate them into the mysteries of the faith, of which they are the “first heralds.”
They are to associate them, from their infancy, with the life of the Church. The way in which one lives in the family can nourish the dispositions of affection which, throughout life, remain a true prelude and a mainstay of a living faith “(CCC 2225).
This is certainly not an easy task. Often it may seem fruitless. And I say more: maybe we will never know the religious influence we had on our children. But you have to exercise it.
An important part of our children’s “evangelization” is quite simple and very old. It is the so-called “Parental Blessing,” which consists in the ability to pour God’s blessings upon our children. As fathers and mothers, we have a duty to entrust our children to God and our prayers have a double effect on them. Because? Because God gave us our children and it is our duty to give them back to Him.
Examples of Parental Blessings can be found throughout the Old Testament. One of the best-known examples is that of Isaac, who blesses his son Jacob (cf. Genesis 27).
In Numbers is the well-known Aaronic Blessing or Priestly Blessing: “The Lord bless you and keep you; May the Lord make his face to shine upon you and grant you grace; the Lord turn to you and give you peace “(Numbers 6: 24-26). Beautiful and true, is not it?
Another Parental Blessing can be found in the book of Tobias, where Tobit blesses his son Tobias, who is about to go on a journey: “May God in heaven protect you in your way and bring you safe back to me; may your angel accompany you “(Tobias 5:17).
All these prayers you can recite to your children. Another simple way to do this would be to get some holy water (if available) and draw the sign of the cross on your child’s right hand (or simply put your hand on his head). In doing so, you can pray any of the above prayers, or just say, “May God bless you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
There is no definite formula for the prayer of blessing of the children. It may even be spontaneous. The important thing is to invoke the blessing of God upon them, recognizing the power He has given you as their father.
This type of blessing is commonly made at bedtime but can also be applied before your child goes to school, boarding a bus or taking a trip. This will give you additional comfort to know that God is with them as they leave your home and an angel is by your side every step of the way.
It is not easy being a father and mother and having to teach your children the faith. However, with the help of God, all things are possible. And they will one day thank you for it.