Arming Our Children with Spiritual Weapons
It is essential that we expose our youth to the teachings of the Church, and offer them serious facts about traditional Christianity, while letting them see that faith is not simply a religious expression of the ethnic heritage of their parents or of keeping a generational family tradition alive. If our youth don’t know the faith and are not helped in making faith their own, internalizing it into their hearts, how do we expect to break the downward cycle of church attendance that is happening across the nation? If we insist on being aloof in our priestly bearing, how will the youth feel free to come to us with their doubts and struggles with belief in God, and curb the mass exodus of young people from the churches? How will these wonderful young people withstand the secularism, humanism, and atheism that is being pounded into their young minds if we do not arm them with a faith that can withstand the challenges of professors and fellow classmates who set out to destroy “the provincial and ethnic beliefs taught by backward parents, uneducated grandparents, and self-serving clergy?”
We are at war! If we don’t arm our children with spiritual weapons, they will be lost to the enemy, and we will have only ourselves to blame. If all our faith is to them is a backward religion they don’t understand, and if they do not sense the love of Christ in the hearts of their parents, priests, and bishops, they will depart to the greener pastures of a society that has had it with religious pomposity, hypocrisy, and scandal. If the youth don’t feel loved and respected by their bishops and priests, they will turn against all we stand for, and we will see them only at our ethnic church bazaars and the occasional funeral.
If these youth are not taught the true faith of Christ, and helped to make it their own by our example of holiness of life, and by our love for them, they will not have been given the armor and ammunition to withstand the atheism of our age, and they will have been lost.
With love in Christ, Abbot Tryphon
All-Merciful Saviour Monastery
Vashon Island, Washington