By Fr. James E. Shea, C.Ss.R.
Dear Parishioners and Friends:
He was reading the newspaper while relaxing in his recliner. He said to his wife, “Honey, there’s an interesting article in the paper today. I think it has a lot of merit. It says that the intelligence of a father often proves to be a stumbling block to his son.” “Well, thank heavens!” his wife said with tongue in cheek, “at least our Hubert has nothing in his way.”
Today we celebrate ‘Father’s Day.’ And nothing is standing in our way as we sing the praises of our dads. It is a day to honor our dads. Whether there’s anything standing in our way or not, remember, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. We’re all products of the genes which have been passed down to us. How often we think to ourselves “my dad has a certain characteristic that I am not going to act that way.” Our dads trained us as best they could. So, today is the day to say ‘Thank You’ to our dads for the gifts they passed on to us.
Philip Yancey wrote, “Unavoidably, we transfer to God feelings and reactions that come from our Human parents. George Bernard Shaw had difficulty with God because his father had been a scoundrel, an absentee father who cared mostly about cricket and pubs. Likewise, C.S. Lewis struggled to overcome the imprint left by his own father, a harsh man who would resort to quoting Cicero to his children when scolding them. When his mother died, Lewis said, it felt as if Atlantis had broken off and left him stranded on a tiny island. After studying at a public school led by a cruel headmaster who was later certified insane and committed to an institution, Lewis had to overcome the impact of these male figures to find a way to love God.
All dads have that sacred responsibility to be a loving father to their children. It is through our relationship with our fathers that we will come to better understand our relationship with our heavenly Father.
There is a wonderful story that was published in 1993. During that winter, workers at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, renovated various sections of the museum. They found a photograph that had been hidden in a crevice underneath a display case.
The man in the picture has a bat resting on his shoulder; he’s wearing a uniform with the words ‘Sinclair Oil’ printed across his chest; his demeanor is gentle and friendly. Stapled to the picture is a note, scribbled in pen by an adoring fan. The note reads; ‘You were never too tired to play ball. On your days off, you helped build the Little League Field. You always came to watch me play. You were a Hall of Fame Dad. I wish I could share this moment with you. Your son, Pete.’
How blest was Pete to have such a loving father. Because of that wonderful relationship, Pete found a way to put his dad in the Hall of Fame.
The late Erma Bombeck suggested that fatherhood is not only a biological term but can be a generic term. ‘Father’ is a term for people who enrich other peoples’ lives. A ‘Father’ makes a difference in the lives they touch.
Erma pointed out that Hans Christian Andersen, the father of children’s literature, never had a biological child of his own. Nor did George Washington, the father of our country; nor did James Madison, the father of the U.S. Constitution. Father Flanagan of Boys Town fame never fathered a child of his own, but he certainly was a father to many; Father Wasson was the father image for many orphans in Mexico. Father Mike Shea is a father image to hundreds of kids who had been abandoned on the streets of Thailand and are now welcomed in Father’s home.
When Henry Aaron, the Hall of Fame baseball player, was growing up, he learned about love and sacrifice from his father. Every day, Henry’s father would give him a quarter to buy his lunch at school. Henry knew that his father skipped lunch each day so that he could give his son that quarter.
When Henry signed a major league contract with the Milwaukee Braves, he immediately telephoned his father and excitedly said, “We did it!” Henry realized the role his father played in guiding him to a career in baseball.
Everyone needs a spiritual boost. Sometimes our tanks are running on empty. We could use a good jump-start. We Redemptorist decided to give ourselves that spiritual adrenalin by attending a program called ‘Renewed Hearts.’ Everyone in our Denver Province is expected to attend this two week program.
Next Sunday Father Rob Ruhnke, Father Francis Pham, Brother Charlie Fucik and Father Bob Lindsey will be traveling to the Redemptorist Retreat House on Crooked Lane in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. For two weeks they will be praying, studying, learning, relaxing and even playing. Our Provincal has asked us to remember these men in prayer.
“Let us pray that these Redemptorists will always be docile to the Holy Spirit, who works without ceasing to conform them to Christ. May the Redemptorists who are participating in this Province Renewal Program learn to view all things as Christ does. And may they be of one mind and one heart with him. Oh God giver of good gifts, help them to trust their gifts and insights with each other so that together they may know a renewal of their hearts, minds and structures according to your will. Through Christ our Lord. Amen”
The father of five children won a toy at a raffle. He called his five kids together to help him decide which child should receive this toy. He said to his kids, “I want you to decide who is the most obedient? Who is the one who never talks back to mother? Who does everything she says?”
In unison, the five little voices answered, “Okay, dad you get the toy.”
Happy Father’s Day
Fr. Jim Shea, C.Ss.R.