Dear family and friends,
As a priest you are welcomed into the homes of so many families, and each has incredible stories, the kind that never make it to the nightly news.
One dad told me of how his family had just moved from the city to the country. Instead of small city blocks, there were huge mile by-mile country blocks. Shortly after they had settled in, one of his daughters, a fourteen-year-old, asked her father if she could go for a bike ride “around the block”. He said that after she had been gone 30 minutes he got a bit worried, but figured it was a long distance to travel. After 45 minutes, he was really worried. When she appeared at the end of their gravel drive after over an hour had passed, he was fuming. “Where have you been?” he demanded, ready to explode. “Oh, I saw the eucharistic adoration chapel at the parish, and so I stopped in to spend some time with our Lord,” she replied. The dad told me he felt like a hot air balloon deflating in just seconds. “What could I say?” he told me.
Yes, what could he say? He’s really blessed to have such a wonderful daughter!
Another dad told of coming home one evening from work and finding his favorite painting of Jesus – made by a friend just for him – covered in smudges and smears. He lined his three daughters up, “This painting is mine. Who did this to it?” he demanded. His youngest daughter took a step backwards and slowly raised her hand. “I did it dad,” she said sheepishly. “Why?” he asked, pleading. “I was just kissing Jesus because I love him.” The dad said he almost melted on the spot. “I realized that my daughter loves Jesus more than I do!”
Reminds me of the Gospel of Matthew: “Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” All of us complicated adults had better start that turning and becoming!
I go on retreat tonight with 25 other priests, and will be praying for you, please say a prayer for all of us!
May God bless you
PS – the rest of the story is: the first daughter now takes bike rides without her father worrying, and the painting was quickly restored by the original artist – to better-than-before condition!