Are You Taking Care of Your Circle of Love?

The Advent and Christmas seasons are always special times each year when Christians are anticipating the Coming of our Saviour and then celebrating the arrival of the Infant Jesus. We started earlier than usual and were actually able to get our preparations completed early this time! (Well, most of them anyhow). This gave us more time to enjoy our 17-month-old grandson who is a lot more active and aware (He is walking around everywhere now….).

During my prayer time, I always go over the Mass Readings for the day and the meditations from various sources. The plight and struggles of families to raise their children in the Faith has been a growing concern of mine for the past several years. When the Feast of the Holy Family came on December 30th, the readings of Sirach 3: 2-6 and 12-14 and Mt 2: 13-15 and 14-23 were powerful. In Sirach, he talked about how God sets the father and mother over their children and, in Matthew’s Gospel an angel of the Lord tells St Joseph to take the family and flee to Egypt to protect them.

A Meditation in the December 2022 issue of Word Among Us for Dec. 30th was very good and follows here for you to ponder the title of this piece.

DAILY MEDITATION: SIRACH 3:2-6, 12-14

Take care of your father when he is old. (Sirach 3:12

Doesn’t today’s first reading paint a beautiful picture of family life? Parents eagerly welcome their newborn baby into their hearts and home. They take care of that child’s every need until she is able to live on her own. The child, in turn, honors and respects her parents, and when they grow old and become unable to care for themselves, she steps in and cares for them. 

Of course, we know that it doesn’t always work out that way, often through no fault of our own. But we can still form the circle of love that God desires every time we follow his call to “take care” of one another (Sirach 3:12).

On this feast of the Holy Family, let’s consider what it means to take care of our loved ones. Of course, it starts with making sure that they are physically safe and healthy. But it goes far beyond that. “Taking care” means being aware of their feelings and paying attention to how our words and actions affect them. It means being patient when they are slow to learn or unable to do things for themselves. It means doing all we can to share our faith and enable them, whenever possible, to practice theirs. It means telling them how much we appreciate them. It means forbearing when they annoy us and forgiving them when they hurt us. And it means interceding for all their needs.

So take care of your children, your parents, your siblings. Take care of them when they are too young or too old to take care of themselves. Take care of them when they are ill or troubled. Take care of them when it’s a delight and when it’s a sacrifice. 

This is a high calling, and we may fail at it sometimes. That’s all the more reason to ask Jesus, who experienced family life himself, for the grace to keep forming this circle of love-day by day, week by week, year by year. Let’s also ask Mary and Joseph to pray for us. May our care for one another bind us together in the Lord all the days of our lives!

“Father, thank you for the gift of my family. Help me to care for them as you care for me.”

Psalm 128:1-5
Matthew 21:13-15, 19-23

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Be a Father Who Plays #CatholicFathers #CatholicParenting

For the past two years, I have been working a job that has required a daily commute of roughly two hours, more or less. Over time, it has slowly worn on me, not to mention my cars. It not only has had its effects on me, but my wife and my son also feel the impact of my long absence.

I’ve written and lamented in the past on how crucial it is for fathers to be home with their families as much as they can, and I very much still stand in that favor of that position. The absence of the father in a home can be very noticeable if we just observe.

On days when I’m able to show up at home immediately following a day’s work and I get to interact with my wife and son, the family feels more stable and the evening has a better flow to it. If I come home but I don’t interact with them, I find the tension gets high, and so do frustration levels (understandably so).

Most noticeably is the change in my son’s behavior when I can get home and just playwith my little guy. When I’m able to come home and get straight to playing, wrestling, rough-housing, or what have you, the evenings always go much smoother, my son is better behaved, and my wife is much happier and at ease and can relax a little.

 

In my own family, we have recognized how essential it is for me to get home and give my son my undivided attention and simply play with him. The difference in his behavior is night and day when I get to spend uninterrupted time with him versus when I don’t. Because of the noticeable difference and the desired result of a smoother evening, we’ve put rules in place where I put phones away and remove any other distractions for at least the first 30 minutes (or more) of my time in the evening and I focus entirely on my little boy. He has waited all day to see his ol’ man.  I’ve had to wait too.

When we take these measures as fathers to give of ourselves entirely to our wives and children and set aside things that call our attention, I find that we live lighter and more freely. By engaging in selfless play with our kiddos, we show them the love of the Father and give them the confidence and assurance they need that they are deeply a part of us, and that we love them in a way they cannot fully understand.

This, I believe, will dramatically affect the way they relate to our Heavenly Father. We dads here on earth have an opportunity to help our children engage in receiving the love of our Father. Many times, I have met Christians who speak incredibly highly of their fathers and how impactful that relationship was to receive the Divine Love. I have also heard the reverse, of how a poor relationship with a father (or lack thereof) has led to an abandonment of the Lord. What a beautiful opportunity for us, but also, how intimidating!

Playing with your child is a gift. Play is done not as a means but as an end unto itself; it’s done for the sake of itself. Playing with our children reminds us to let go and enjoy the gifts that the Lord has given us, namely our children. To hear the laughter of your child as you play-tackle him to the ground, is one of the finest treasures in our lives as fathers.

 

The post Be a Father Who Plays appeared first on Those Catholic Men.

Cameron Murray

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Cameron hails from the Peoria diocese originally, but now resides in St. Louis with his wife and son. Cameron works as a project manager by day, and teaches Spanish on the side. He is an aspiring homesteader and writer and God willing, hopes to run a small farm in the future. He is also the editor of a blog geared toward Catholic masculinity called The Seasick Catholic (www.seasickcatholic.wixsite.com/sscatholic)

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How I Stayed Catholic at Harvard University by Aurora Griffin

I have just finished reading the book, “How I Stayed Catholic at Harvard University” (Ignatius Press) which was written to help students remain active and grow in their faith while away at college.  It is an excellent book and an easy read but more compelling was that it was a book for all people who want to maintain and grow in faith.  All practicing Catholics of all ages should read this book to see how they can continue to grow and learn about their faith throughout their lives. 

The following is the Description from Ignatius’ Press website:

A Harvard graduate, Rhodes Scholar, and devout Catholic tells you everything you need to know about keeping your faith at a modern university. Drawing on her recent experience, Aurora Griffin shares forty practical tips relating to academics, community, prayer, and service that helped her stay Catholic in college.

She reminds us that keeping the faith is a conscious decision, reinforced by commitment to daily practices. Aurora’s story illustrates that when you decide your faith matters to you, no one can take it away, even in the most secular environments and under strong peer pressure. Throughout the book, she shows how being Catholic in college did not prevent her from having a full “college experience,” but actually enabled her to make the most of her time at Harvard.

Aurora encourages students who are about to begin this formative journey, or those now in college, that the most valuable parts of college life — lasting friendships, intellectual growth, and cherished memories — are experienced in a more meaningful way when lived in and through the Catholic faith.

Morning of Reflection – Living Bread

The Living Bread is our August topic.  Scripture has been bringing us into this mystery through recent Gospel readings.  Since we can never exhaust the mystery of the Eucharist, we will be reflecting on this extraordinary gift.

Join spiritual director, Yvette Lessard, on Thursday morning, August 9th at 10 – 11:45 AM in the Parish hall of St Peter Church on Main Street in Danbury, CT.  All are invited to be with us.

Strawberry Festival at St. Peter Church – Danbury, CT

St Peter Church brought back their Strawberry Festival on Sunday morning, June 24th!  After each Mass, all parishioners who attended were treated to a breakfast of waffles and fresh strawberries along with live classical music on flute and guitar.  A morning of  friendly conversation and good spirits was enjoyed by all.  The parish Hospitality group will continue holding this event every June.

The Parish is home for worship and spiritual enhancement for people of many ethnic backgrounds who are united by one Faith and one Baptism. “If you are searching for a spiritual home, I invite you to come and worship with us. Join us in our common journey to a life in closer communion with our Lord Jesus.”- Fr. Gregg Mecca, Pastor

http://www.stpeterdanb.org

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