My oldest graduated from high school this past weekend. As graduation approached, the feeling was surreal. We were going through a dramatic change. She is moving-on. She already has a job for the summer, and will start taking on the responsibilities of an adult. In late August, she leaves for college. She is most definitely entering a new exciting phase, and the role of her dad is changing.
Preparation for a sacrament is an opportunity for great joy along intertwined with the potential for great frustration. The sacraments are profound encounters with the grace of God, but our human experience can get in the way. As a father of three boys and three girls, I have been though First Communion preparation seven times (counting my own). It is different every time, but I have found out it is very easy to get focused on the external rather than the internal and miss the whole point.
To My Dear Sons,
I have so many things to say and tell you about that I don’t even know exactly where to begin.
I believe it’s best if I start by saying that I love you dearly.
I will never forget the days you two were born, especially the moment I saw each one of you coming out to light. At each time I’ve felt as if something in me has changed and that I’ve become a better person because of you. I actually felt as if I’m getting closer to heaven, maybe because that’s where you came from. When you came to life, you brought with you the scent of heaven.
It’s hard to believe that the Summer is drawing to a close, but here we are. We’ve had our family vacations, the kids are anxiously awaiting their return to school, and most parents are ready to see their kids back in the throngs of academia. Despite the numerous times I have prepared my children to return to school at the end of each summer, I can’t help but wonder if there is anything significant and meaningful that I need to do for my children before they return. While thinking about this I came upon this powerful poem about being a saint inspired by Blessed Pope John Paul II.
Prayer may not seem manly to us today. But is because we lost the example. Somewhere in the past generation(s) fathers stopped leading their families in prayer.
As a Catholic Dad, how are you modeling and teaching prayer to your children?
We know that when we face an obstacle, problem, or task, there is usually a tool to help us solve or complete the task quickly and efficiently. Choosing the right tool for the most important challenges is rarely easy or straightforward. This is especially true when facing spiritual challenges. Just like other tasks or obstacles, there are tools available, but sometimes they aren’t so obvious.
We may not be perfect fathers, but neither were a few guys in the Bible. Most of the dads in the Bible would have their children taken from them by the state in roughly 2.65 milliseconds if they tried to pull some of their shenanigans in today’s society. Perhaps there is something we need to learn from that in understanding our own shortcomings.
Kids across the country are out of school, and now we’re at the beginning of hot days, summer vacations, and of course, the proverbial summer reading lists. Here is a list of Catholic books it would be worthwhile looking into for youths and young adults in your life.
Recently I read one of my favorite parables from the Catholic Bible, the parable of the Prodigal Son (or the Parable of the Lost Son, depending on who you ask) found in the Gospel of Luke 15:11-32. Many times when I read this famous parable I ask myself, “Who am I in this parable? The repentant younger son, or the resentful older son?”
I was recently contacted about what advice I would give to a group of college aged Catholic men on being good fathers. I was able to come up with five pieces of advice that I would want young Catholic dads or men who may become Catholic dads to have.