This morning’s Gospel was the long genealogy of Jesus from Matthew. I wondered what the priest at St. Paschal Baylon Church would find to say about this rather boring passage. Father Paul surprised us by presenting a unique idea. He suggested drawing up the genealogy of our spiritual life. This would make an excellent prayer activity or journal entry. It involves looking back over our entire lives and pinpointing those people who nurtured our faith. Who baptized us? Who were our godparents? Who took us to Mass, or made us go? Who taught us our prayers? Who instructed us in the faith? Who heard our confessions or gave us spiritual direction? Who influenced us by their good example? Who inspired us? Who bolstered us up when our faith was faltering?
Most likely our spiritual genealogy would include family members, relatives, friends, and teachers. I remember going to Mass as a child with my friend and her mother, who later became my Confirmation sponsor. We little girls had been talking and fooling around in church. On the way home, we were scolded and told to make up to God by doing a meditation. “What’s that?” I asked and learned this way to pray. Besides people we actually knew, we might also list in our genealogy saints and writers of spiritual books. The author Louis de Wohl, who wrote fictionalized lives of the saints that inspired me in my teen years, would definitely be in my genealogy.
Notice that the people in Jesus’ genealogy were not all who we would call good people. The wicked King Ahaz, the prostitute Rahab, and the adulterous Bathsheba are there. It could be that a flawed individual had a positive influence on our faith life despite his or her own failings.
During this time when we look forward to the birth of Jesus, the source and subject of our faith, why not review the development of your faith life and give God thanks for those who fostered it?
Who would you include in your faith genealogy? Why?