The Little Big Way

March 28 2022 | by

DEAR DR. POPCAK: I’ve been really challenged lately with my family and our faith life. We’re all practicing Catholics, but as our schedules have become busier, our involvement in our faith practices and church activities has greatly diminished. I’m not happy about this at all, but now I’m having a hard time getting my family to be invested in participating in church activities, service activities, and even often family prayer. How do I get my family and our faith lives back on track?


Most people think that “building the Kingdom of God” involves “doing big things for Jesus.” However, the Theology of The Body (TOB) reminds us that the primary way we build the kingdom is by creating communion – making the relationships we have with the people in our lives as healthy, holy, and deep as we reasonably can. In that sense, cultivating a strong family life is a ministry in itself. TOB reminds us that family life is a sacrament that is meant to be a little way of holiness, the primary path moms, dads, and kids walk to become everything God created us to be.

Having a satisfying, joyful, rewarding, Christian home-life means being willing to consciously engage in ongoing home improvement projects – on your relationships! As spouses, parents and children we need to be conscious about praying together to discern God’s plan for our family life everyday, regularly examining and discussing how we can love each other a little better, work together a little better, serve each other a little better, handle conflict just a little better. 

Again, this doesn’t need to be done entirely in big gestures. Start small – everyday, take a few moments to sit down with your spouse and kids and ask God what He wants you to be focusing on as a family. When you first wake up, before you do anything else, get everyone together briefly to pray a morning offering for your household. Say something like, “Lord, we give you our family. Help us to be the people you want us to be for each other. Help us to look for little ways to love, serve, and understand each other better, so that we can fill each other’s hearts with your love and be better witnesses to your love in the world. Amen.” Use your own words, but keep it simple and personal. Having the home-life God wants you to have begins with asking him – everyday – what little “home improvement projects” he would like you to take on today. God has a plan for your family. Discover that plan by meeting with God each morning to ask him how you can cooperate with it.

Lastly, the healthiest and happiest families make a point of consciously looking for little ways to make each other’s day easier or more pleasant. But this doesn’t happen naturally. Everyday model this by asking your kids what they might need from you to have a more pleasant day, but don’t stop there! Teach your children to ask you what they can do for you. At dinnertime, make a point of regularly asking, “What did someone in the family do for you that you especially appreciated today?” Then invite the kids to talk about the little things they might be struggling with at school or home, and discuss how you can pull together as a team to support each other through these challenges. Take Pope Francis’ advice to families to heart and make a habit of being intentional about cultivating the kindness and caretaking that will make your house a truly grace-filled home.

Updated on March 28 2022