Do you have what it takes to be a good godparent?
Recently I reread the instruction given for godparents by the Catechism of the Council of Trent. I include the text here for you (emphasis mine):
"Let all sponsors, then, at all times recollect that they are strictly bound by this law to exercise a constant vigilance over their spiritual children, and carefully to instruct them in the maxims of a Christian life; so that these may show themselves throughout life to be what their sponsors promised in the solemn ceremony.
On this subject let us hear the words of St. Denis. Speaking in the person of the sponsor he says: I promise, by my constant exhortations to induce this child, when he comes to a knowledge of religion, to renounce every thing opposed (to his Christian calling) and to profess and perform the sacred promises which he now makes.
St. Augustine also says: I most especially admonish you, men and women, who have acquired godchildren through Baptism, to consider that you stood as sureties before God, for those whom you received at the sacred font. Indeed it preeminently becomes every man, who undertakes any office, to be indefatigable in the discharge of its duties; and he who promised to be the teacher and guardian of another should never allow to be deserted him whom he once received under his care and protection as long as he knows the latter to stand in need of either.
Speaking of this same duty of sponsors, St. Augustine sums up in a few words the lessons of instruction which they are bound to impart to their spiritual children. They ought, he says, to admonish them to observe chastity, love justice, cling to charity; and above all they should teach them the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the rudiments of the Christian religion."
Is that not the model of clarity and vision? Each one of us, as godparents is called to act diligently to raise our godchildren in the Faith. We are "strictly bound" to act with vigilance...Does this not sound incredible militant to you? Of course it does, and the reason is because we have been chosen to be the ones doing battle for their souls and instructing them in the Truth.
Let us remember, if we are called upon to be a godfather or godmother, we must take this role and duty seriously. We cannot give what we do not possess, and unless we first know and live our faith, how can we ever hope to pass it on to our godchild? If we first "observe chastity, love justice, and cling to charity" we can then be a beacon of light to our children and godchildren. In this way we teach more by example than by words and we provide a model for our godchildren to imitate. Once we can first model our faith by our life, then we can "talk the walk" and provide actual instruction in living out the Gospel.