Friday, March 28, 2008

The Beauty of the Easter Season

Now that Easter Sunday has passed, we can joyfully celebrate the gift of March Madness and the beauty of God's creation...which is evident when watching our precious UNC TarHeels and Texas Longhorns. (Oh, we just can't decide WHO to cheer for!)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Christos Anesti! He is Risen!

"Always be ready to give an account to everyone who asks of the reason for the hope that is in you..." (1 Peter 3:15)

Happy Easter, everyone!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Jesus Remember Me-Good Friday 2008

Our church's outdoor Stations of the Cross drew hundreds of participants. It was a beautiful Spring day with temperatures close to 70 degrees. Many of us came with quieted hearts, hoping to align our sufferings and pain with Christ.

Nicholas, Jack and Gus follow others as we sing and pray along the way.

As I looked up from my prayers, I was surprised to find Nick at the front of the crowd...Jack and Gus not far behind...positioning himself to be selected to take a turn carrying Christ's Cross. I worried that it might be too heavy for him, but it wasn't. He carried it along with another young friend from youth group. Symbolizing that even our children, walk along with Christ and have their own crosses to bear.

Back at the church, near the end of our stations, Nick assists one of the adults in propping up the Cross.

We adore you Oh Christ and we bless you, because by your cross you have redeemed the world.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Pinch me, am I dreaming?

The other night, the kids and I visited the local "dollar store". You know the type of store... where everything is advertised as being only one dollar, but in reality costs MORE than a dollar! What is up with that??

Anyway, I was in a generous mood and felt like the kids were being really good lately, so I told them that they could each pick out a toy from this...uh, DOLLAR store. They all found a few gems that thrilled them. Jack and Nick found camoflauged automatic weapons (a staple in my home) and Gus found two miniature army men with their weapons. Rebecca wanted some rubber glue. It was for the sole of her shoe which was coming apart and solved her problem.

All of this should have cost me, $4, but since it was not a REAL dollar store, I paid over $25. Sheesh.

But that was a small price to pay for the priceless joy and gratitude that effused from my children. Cheap plastic toys absolutely made. their. day. (And Rebecca was happy to have intact shoes.) As we drove home after our shopping trip, I enjoyed the conversation between the kids:

Gus: Oh, I hope this is not a dream.

Me: What do you mean Gus?

Jack: Gus, it could not be a dream, 'cuz why would I be in your dream?

Gus: No, it's just that I always have dreams where I get cool toys, but wake up to find out that I did not get them.

Jack: Don't worry Gus, it's not a dream. You have a cool toy, and so do Nick and I.

Let's hear it for the cheap plastic toy that brings joy!! Even if I DID have to pay more than a dollar for these cheapy goods, it was worth it!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Fatherly Love

Another lovely editorial from one of my favorite Catholic evangelists: Mark Hart aka: The Bible Geek.

So much has been written over the centuries about God being our Father. We pray the 'Our Father' at every single Mass. Most of you reading this probably pray it every day - I sure do.

But it's easy to fall into that "trap" sometimes of letting that term "Father" be just that...a term or a 'title' for God, rather than the basis for our relationship with Him.

We could write a long list of traits we look for in a Father or expect from a Father. Many of our lists would stem from traits we see in or desire from our own earthly fathers.

Recently, though, as I was praying and journaling, I began to reflect on things I've learned about the love of a father since becoming a father a few years back. As my wife and I await the arrival (any day now) of our newest baby girl, it's got me to thinking, again, about how a father loves his children.

Here are a few 'truths' I've learned and realized about good fathers:

. Fathers aren't afraid of messes.we learn to expect them.

. Fathers don't like whining. If you really want our help, stop whining and speak to us.

. Fathers know that when things are too quiet.their children must be in sin.

. Fathers want to not only provide for their children, they want to give them more than they deserve.

. Fathers don't base their love on their child's accomplishments. True paternal love is unconditional.

. Fathers love to see themselves reflected in their children (the good things, anyway).

. Fathers desire to have their children in their presence as much as possible.

. Fathers relish in seeing their children share their gifts and talents with the world.

. Fathers would do anything to take their child's pain away.

And if I (in all of my imperfections) feel these things for my own kids, how much more does our Heavenly Father perfect these emotions and feelings with us? (Matthew 6:30-34)

As I journaled, I took these relationship "truths" that I live with my own children and translated them into how God loves me and looks at me. Here's what I came up with, perhaps it will make sense for your life, too:

My Father in Heaven isn't afraid of my messiness. He wants to help me clean it up.
My Father in Heaven doesn't like my whining, He wants me to talk to him.
My Father in Heaven knows I'm sinning, especially when He hasn't heard from me.
My Father in Heaven wants to bless me with more than I truly deserve.
My Father in Heaven loves me unconditionally, not because of what I do.
My Father in Heaven rejoices when I live and act in His Jesus.
My Father in Heaven desires to have me in His presence more often.
My Father in Heaven hopes to see me share my talents (His gifts) with the world.
My Father in Heaven would to anything to take away my pain.even die on a cross.

This is not the fullness of the meaning behind calling God "Abba", but it's a start. The sooner we can re-envision the true, authentic, practical and perfect love of our Heavenly Father, the sooner this verse and the sooner the Lord's Prayer (the Our Father) will hold greater meaning in our everyday lives.

Happy Father's Day (a little early).

Salvation Given
"As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, 'Abba, Father!'" - Galatians 4:6

Your Father loves you. Love Him back.