My dedication is to my family and my faith.
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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day to the Fathers in my Life

My dad is a wonderful father and I am so thankful to call him dad. He taught me how a man should treat a woman in how he treated us in the family. He challenged me to always do the best, and always listened to my childhood thoughts and ramblings. My dad is responsible for all the knowledge I have about vehicles and maintaining them, and the knowledge I have about building and fixing things. Even though I always wanted to do things my way, my dad corrected my skills and taught me the right methods for things like sweeping, hammering nails, picking up heavy wood, and so many things that I'm probably not even aware of. He is responsible for my good work ethic. Most days in the summer, and after homework in the school year, my siblings and I knew that we would be helping work outside. We were fixing things, building things, gathering wood and hay, and doing many other tasks that made me see and appreciate the value of work. I may not have always liked it then, but now I can see that I would not have gotten where I am without learning the lessons of good work to improve on what we had. Most days we worked, but on Sundays we played games together as a family, or napped and watched TV. In those close family days I learned from my dad the value and importance in the Sunday of rest, he didn't have to say it because his actions spoke for him.

My dad is responsible for all the nice things I had growing up and my first several vehicles. Because my dad works hard at his job, I always felt secure growing up that we would never have to worry about where those nice things came from, they would always be there because he would supply them. I learned that silence is not a bad thing from him, even if I don't put it into practice well. I loved to go driving with him as I was growing up, even if it was to a 'boring' hardware store. Sometimes those stores have popcorn, and I loved to get an ice cream cone with him too sometimes. But I didn't need the treats, I needed that time with just my dad and me.

My dad makes me feel safe and is always there with deep words of wisdom when I need them. He didn't stop being my dad when I moved away and started my own family. He is still there for me even from farther away, ready to help us out every time I call. He shingled our garage roof, gave his advice as we bought our house, and gave us a mower and other tools to help us get started in our new yard. Recently he helped us fix our vehicle's air conditioner and probably saved us a huge expense. What I mean by all that is he is still looking out for us, still being my dad. I treasure his advice, the things he taught me growing up, the games we still play when we see him again, and all the help he gives. My dad was instrumental to bringing me to where I am today and I am very thankful for all that he has done.

My husband is a wonderful father. He has supported and prayed with me throughout the difficult times after Elisha's death, and has great faith in Elisha's place in heaven. He cares lovingly for our daughter. I'm so grateful that she has such a loving man teaching her to enjoy life and keeping her safe. From cleaning the house for a safe place to play, to cooking healthy meals, he makes sure to support our family in a variety of ways. So many small actions show his devotion to fatherhood, like his loving kisses and hugs our daughter loves, the rides on his shoulders that make her giggle, watching the grocery sales to get her yummy treats, trips to the zoo where she waves to the animals, and playing catch with her so much that she's sure to be a skilled sports player.

Along with learning to play catch, my husband is teaching our daughter many other important skills too. He is showing her an appreciation for a variety of music, from Disney to Weird Al, and encouraging her beginning interest in piano playing (read, hitting piano keys). He helped her learn her colors, though of course they have more practicing to do. He has taught her to hold hands walking across the street, and to sit down in chairs so she doesn't fall out. As she grows I can't wait to see what else she'll learn from her daddy.

Fatherhood doesn't start at birth, but rather conception. Just as when I was pregnant before, my dear husband has been a wonderful support as our newest baby grows in my womb. He sacrifices his time if I need him and his nose to clean the litter boxes, even though he was always a dog person. I love the excitement in his eyes when I talk about how big Baby is now, or tell him I felt a tiny kick. I need his confidence and support, his faith that everything will be fine to override my anxieties. I am so thankful that our children will have such a great dad to show them what is important, how to have fun, and what great faith looks like.

 Just as a father must nourish, instruct, challenge, correct, forgive, listen and sustain his children, so must a priest do so for his spiritual children. The priest must especially meet the spiritual needs of those entrusted to his care, providing them with the nourishment of our Lord through the sacraments. He must preach the Gospel with fervor and conviction in accord with the mind of the Church, challenging all to continue on that path of conversion which leads to holiness. He must correct those who have erred, but with mercy and compassion. In the same spirit as the father with his prodigal son, the priest must reconcile sinners who have gone astray but seek a way back to God. As a father listens to his child, so must a priest listen to his spiritual children, providing counsel and consolation. A priest must also be mindful of the “physical” needs of his flock — food, housing, clothing and education. (source)
The above words are a beautiful picture of the reason I want to think of all priests this Father's Day. I don't remember ever meeting the priest who baptized me, but he was a father to me, giving me the sacrament that began pouring graces into my life and probably made me cry.  I also can't remember the priest I was given Confirmation from, but I remember that priest was an important part of a joyful day. Since then I've heard dozens of priests give wise homilies at mass, instructing and challenging me on my journey. At those same mass services I saw them perform the miracle of the Eucharist, and give it as spiritual nourishment. My favorite is Reconciliation, my one on one time with a priest who washes away my sin in the person of Jesus, and then often give me some of their wise advice to help me amend my life.

I've heard people joke that a priest only works one day a week. In reality they do so much more, and I am thankful for the work they do for the church. They do daily mass, visit the sick, visit the homes of their parishioners, hours in the confessional, tireless prayer, marriage counseling and weddings, funerals, comforting those who are grieving, and many more things that I don't even know about. I've heard them say they try to go on vacation, but are called just before they leave to preform some service for one of their flock. Priests may be celibate, but they have more children than any natural father. And they work hard to show Jesus's love to every one.

There are so many more fathers who I am thankful for. For my father-in-law who raised my dear husband and taught him what it is to be a dad. For my grandfathers-in-law who are both such very wise men with beautiful families. For my grandfathers, who I lost the chance to get to know but still value and love the impact they had on my family. For all these men I'm especially thankful for, that they step up to show the world what it means to be a father. And I thank God my Father for bringing these men into the world, and into my life.

In the name above all name above all names, Jesus Christ, I humbly and reverently ask that You strengthen and guide dads to sacrificially serve and lead their children with integrity. Let their lives as fathers, oh Lord, be a clear reference point for their children of what quality manhood looks like – providing love, acceptance, security, provision, supervision and a positive vision of their lives. Help fathers to grow and imitate the focus, faithfulness and love of Christ, modeling what it is to do the right things, the right way, for the right reasons.
Thank you dear Lord for the gift of fathers who show Your love to their children. Amen (modified from source)