Tag Archives: God the Father

Life’s Surprises

My son was due back from Louisiana where he visited family and saw LSU football up close and personal.

The good news is he returned with an LSU stocking cap, LSU hoodie, LSU headphones, LSU socks and, of course an LSU collar and leash for the dog.

The bad news is that his flight – due to arrive just after midnight (why in the world did I pick that flight?) was diverted to an airport an hour and a half away. I drove over to meet him; the airline was offering bus travel on a “first come – first served basis.” I didn’t like that idea; first, I would have had to pick him up at 3:00 AM at the local ariport. Second, his mother – the most wonderful person in the world (in my humble opinion) would ask me, “What in the world were you thinking?”

Given the fog, and the hour, I decided my son and I would just spend the night and drive back in the morning.

While there, I received a call from my brother and sister that our father is not doing well. In a nutshell, he’s waiting for God to call him home. I expect to head that way in the next few days after they sort things out. My sister is hoping to let him go back to his apartment with hospice care. If so, I plan on staying there with him until he leaves us.

It’s different, but then again, not different to be with my son and to be with my father when they need me.

Heavenly Father, guide me.

Behold the Lilies of the Field

SONY DSC

In the spring I planted flowers around our mailbox – just some wildflower kind of seeds that one of the kids had to sell as a fundraiser. They grew extremely well – so well, in fact, that they were in the way of the mail truck and blocking part of the sidewalk, so I had to trim them back.

As the pile of trimmings grew, I thought that they might make a nice bouquet in the house, so I carried them in.

I don’t arrange flowers, but I know enough to cut the stems at an angle and remove the extraneous leaves – from that point on it’s Barb and Katie’s responsibility.

As I was working on the flowers, I couldn’t help but think of how God’s beauty shows up everywhere. The variety of beautiful flowers, birds, landscapes and other marvels of nature that we see every day.

      25“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28“And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32“For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6

Thank you, God, for this morning’s flowers

In Sickness and in Health

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I haven’t written much this week because we’ve had a few medical issues around here. Three were planned, but there was at least one middle-of-the-night exciting surprise. The kids needed to get one last viral ailment before school let out and the dog showed that although he’s very lovable, he’s equally stupid. So five trips to various hospitals, including a veterinarian one, one to the doc-in-a-box, several to various doctors’ offices later, it’s now the weekend.

When I was younger, like most guys (I can’t speak for the female of the species) I saw love in terms of a commitment to “climb the highest mountains and swim the deepest seas.” Now that I’m older and have acquired s modicum of wisdom, I see things differently.

I made my marriage vows to my wife before God. However those vows grew to include not only the two of us but the whole family. “In sickness (and in health”) seems to be more aimed at the kids than each other. Likewise, “for richer or for poorer” – well let’s just say that much of our material wealth has been invested in our children.

“All my worldly goods with thee I share” – when I can’t find a tool, or that ten dollar bill that I had in my wallet, or the nail clippers, or whatever (and the list is impressive) it’s far more likely that one of the kids has borrowed/absconded/taken title to it than my wife.

But what a wonderful life. God, in his wisdom, has given me countless opportunities to share that I otherwise wouldn’t have had. He’s blessed me with a closeness such that if sharing is not completely effortless it is at least totally natural.

Fathers’ Day is tomorrow. Let’s first thank Our Heavenly Father on this day. (Isn’t it quite appropriate that both Mothers’ and Fathers’ days are on Sundays?)

Then, as a father, I want to thank Him for blessing me with my family.

Sundown, Good Friday

PietaMichelangelo Buonarroti1499

Pieta
Michelangelo Buonarroti
1499

Satan had never been particularly fond of sundown on Friday, since it marked the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath. Perhaps, two millennia ago he was more comfortable because the Sabbath had become a burden, rather than a cause for joy. The Pharisees had defined most activities, including how far you could walk before you were violating the Sabbath. It was a set of complicated rules rather than a day of rest.

This particular Friday had to be especially disconcerting. Satan had seen Jesus ridiculed, beaten, abused, and tortured. No doubt this pleased him while simultaneously frightening him. Even he knew that things were not as they seemed. He had to wonder what was going to happen.

Many believe that when Jesus cried out, “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?” was the point at which Jesus took on all the sins of the world. For the first time in eternity Jesus was not completely connected with the Father and it was terrifying and disorienting.

At that moment, Satan saw countless souls he had seduced, cajoled, lied to, and threatened slip through his very fingers. The justice they deserved was now paid in full, and they were reunited with God.

Jesus told us He had the ability to lay down His life and pick it up again. I think that once He had paid our debt, His job was done and He laid his life down. It was His choice to save us, and His choice to return the Father.

Satan had known from the very beginning that his quest was unachievable, but his ego was such that he continued anyway. I’m sure that even with our redemption, his arrogance demanded that he redouble his efforts. Even today you can see his efforts.

But it doesn’t matter. We have been saved. We have been forgiven. We are loved by our God and by His only begotten Son.

Give thanks. It is right and just.

Make It a Heartfelt Thanksgiving

I’m a Catholic, and we’re heavy into liturgical prayer – “Say two Our Fathers and three Hail Marys” sort of thing. One might think that back in history the clergy didn’t trust the common folk to come up with prayers on their own. The truth is that many people seem a little unsure as to what we should do or say when we pray.

The Lord’s Prayer appears in the Bible as the answer to the disciples request for Jesus to teach them how to pray.

Liturgical prayer has its advantages, but its main disadvantage is that the more routine it becomes the harder it is to concentrate on its meaning. I know my mind wanders…

“Give us this day our daily bread… Did I remember to pick up salt when I stopped for bread? Oh wait, I never checked to see if we needed milk…”

As such, I tend to try to put my thoughts into a prayer and pray spontaneously. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. When I say the grace before meals, I tend to thank God for family, home, the fact that our kids are in a good school and we’re generally safe. It’s a good list, but sometimes it becomes too comfortable and I say it without really thinking about it, much less meaning it. “I don’t see the salt on the table. Did I remember to pick up salt when I stopped for bread? Oh wait, I never checked to see if we needed milk…”

Jesus taught us that the two greatest commandments are to love God with everything we are, our heart, soul and mind. The second He said is “like it” and calls for us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Perhaps when He said they are alike he was also telling us that they go together.

Perhaps, this Thanksgiving we can pair up what we are thankful for with some way to put that into action.

If I’m thankful for family, maybe I should call Aunt Edna and give her twenty minutes to ramble on about how much she dislikes this or that.

If I’m thankful for the meal, maybe I should gather up cans of my favorite foods and donate them to the food drive or food bank.

If I’m thankful for the freedoms we have in this country, maybe I should sit politely and listen to the guy at work who enjoys discoursing on his personal interpretation of some particular law or lack thereof.

If I’m thankful for my relationship with God, maybe I should pray for all who seek Him whether through my belief system or not. I suspect that when all is said and done, God is going to grade us on a curve and the “A” for effort will outweigh the “D-” in subject matter expertise.

“Freedom from Want”
Norman Rockwell

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for this family. You know we love one another, but out of gratitude may we accept one another as individuals and celebrate that each of us is unique – created in your image and exactly as you wanted each of us to be.

I thank you for my home. Size and neighborhood don’t matter. It’s a home because it’s one little spot in the universe where this family can come together to love and be loved. Please always be here with us and make this home yours as well.

I thank you for this meal, and every meal we have. We don’t go hungry and are so blessed that we can pick and choose those things that are our favorites and avoid those that are not. May we realize how extraordinary it is to be blessed to this degree.

I thank you for this country in which we live. A country for which young men and women will dedicate their very lives because of the principles on which we are built.

Finally, Father, it was You who breathed life into each and every one of us – a gift that only You can give. May we look to you always as a child looking at a parent, for You to show us the way, correct us when we’re wrong, then forgive us. We’re especially thankful for your unconditional love.

Happy Thanksgiving.