At bedtime, worries come out. And in a hushed tone, my 6 year old said, "Mom, I don't think I'm getting anything in my stocking. I've been too naughty."
Yes, we've had more than our share of "naughty moments" in the last few weeks. But the awesome thing was, my son was realizing that maybe those moments add up.
I gave him a hug. There is still time to change, I assured him. And even really big saints were naughty - really naughty, far worse than what a 6 year old could do - but changed their minds and turned to God.
Take St. Augustine. Known today as one of the doctors of the Catholic Church and the author of Confessions
, a mainstay in university World Civilizations classes, Augustine wasn't always so clean-cut. He hung around with the wrong crowd, and made a series of not-so-great choices. (Not that I'd share this with my first-grader, but his famous prayer was "Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet."
Even St. Francis of Assisi, a beloved saint for my son, wasn't so saintly to begin with. He loved his lavish lifestyle and all it brought. A spiritual crisis and illness ultimately led him to his personal conversion, and a quest to "rebuild my church."
What impresses me about the lives of saints is that, for all of those who were known to lead a Godly life their whole lives, there seem to be just as many who struggled, fell, and yet turned their way to God. And that is what I want my children to know.
And Saints are our friends in Heaven. We can ask them for help, just as we might talk to a loved one who had passed. Last night, we began talking to our saint friends Augustine and Francis, and asked them to help us not be naughty.
Sweet words coming from the mouth of a 6 year old. But I believe, a friendship could lead to great change.