Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy Father's Day! (One Day Late)

As Jon and I talked about parenthood today, we agreed that it's all we thought it would be and more. It's the "more" that brings us to our knees! And it's there that we turn to our Father in heaven. Without Him there is no way we could do this "parenting thing."

We had a very nice Father's Day. Jon got to sleep in and then we went to Mass. He received some gifts from the boys and then we all took a nap! It was so nice to have such a relaxing day. We took advantage of some gift cards we've been saving and we all went to the Cheesecake Factory for a yummy dinner.

I am so thankful for Jon... so glad that he is the father of my children. He works hard to provide for them. He loves them. He really enjoys playing with them, whether it's running around at the park, playing board games or video games, or reading to them. He's always willing to help with caring for them in any way. It's so awesome to have such a dedicated, trustworthy, practical, fun partner in the parenting adventure. It's amazing what we've been through together already. I can't wait for all that's to come.

The vocation to fatherhood really is a challenging one. Dads are expected to be tough, yet tender. They are expected to balance the responsibilities of providing for their families AND helping around the house AND spending quality time with their families. They have the responsibility of modeling and teaching what it means to be a man.... in a society that has such discordant and  even offensive views of manhood. And most men just don't have the same kind of support and encouragement from other dads that moms get from other moms. We really need to pray for dads.

This prayer by Pope John XXIII holds all fathers up to the guidance and protection of the patron saint of fathers, Saint Joseph:

"St. Joseph, guardian of Jesus and chaste husband of Mary, you passed your life in loving fulfillment of duty. You supported the holy family of Nazareth with the work of your hands. Kindly protect those who trustingly come to you. You know their aspirations, their hardships, their hopes. They look to you because they know you will understand and protect them. You too knew trial, labor and weariness. But amid the worries of material life your soul was full of deep peace and sang out in true joy through intimacy with God's Son entrusted to you and with Mary, his tender Mother. Assure those you protect that they do not labor alone. Teach them to find Jesus near them and to watch over him faithfully as you have done."

Let's pray today for:
new dads and old dads,
dads who don't want the responsibility of being dads,
men who long to be dads,
dads who have shirked their duties or failed in some way,
dads who are mourning the loss of their children,
abusive dads,
children who don't have loving fathers in their lives,
dads who have passed away,
dads who are struggling to adequately provide for their families,
dads who have forgotten how to enjoy being with their children,
single dads,
foster and adoptive dads,
men who have been "father figures" and role models and mentors,
families with fathers deployed in the military,
people estranged from their fathers,
those mourning the loss of their fathers or grandfathers,
and all of our forefathers who have gone before us.

God our Loving Father, we ask your blessing on all men whom you've called to the holy vocation of fatherhood. Remind them of the great privilege it is. Empower them to serve you by loving and serving their children. Open their eyes to the needs, desires, and vulnerabilities of their children and give them the love and grace to be the dads you long for them to be. Assist them in their daily challenges so they may cheerfully fulfill their duties of loving, providing, and caring for their families. Encourage them in their struggles. Strengthen them in times of doubt, failure, or difficulty. Help them to know your steadfast, merciful love and guide their children to walk in your ways. We ask this in the name of Jesus Chris Our Lord. Amen.

I pray especially for Jon. May he continue to learn and grow and become the best dad he can be for our boys. May he confidently share with them his faith, his talents, and the virtues and values he holds dear. May he let go of the little things and really enjoy each day with his sons.

I pray for my dad. I'm thankful for his love, for all of the ways he's been there for/with me, and for the love and fun he shares with my husband and sons. I pray that he will continue his growth in you, Lord... that he will find continue to learn and embrace your call for him to be his authentic self.

I pray for my father-in-law, Jon's beloved dad. We miss him so much. May he see you face to face, Lord, and enjoy the rewards of eternal life. Thank you for the legacy of love, honor, and respect that he left for our family. Help us to continue that legacy and keep his memory alive for our boys.

I pray for my grandfathers, both of whom were important, loved men in my life. I'm so thankful for the fun memories I have of them and for the lessons of faith, fidelity, and family that they taught me. May they too enjoy the rewards of eternal life. May they continue to shape our family through their intercession.

And, finally, I pray earnestly for all priests. They are our fathers in faith. Their "job descriptions" are nearly impossible for any one man to fulfill. They need your grace, Lord. They need our love and support. May they be renewed in their commitments to holiness and service. May they teach boldly through their ministry and example, especially when so many don't want to hear their message. I thank God for Father Leo, who has been such a wondeful mentor and friend to me. I pray for more men to boldly accept the call to priesthood.

On this Father's Day, Lord, I lift all fathers up for your love and grace. Amen.

1 comment:

  1. A beautiful post about the wonderful men in your family!