Monday, June 21, 2010

Faith of Our Fathers

So yesterday was Fathers' Day and for a girl who often complains about men and has an aversion to most things cute, I will say I recognize the sweetness of a father holding his daughter or the ador-ability (not a word, but you get it) of a dad playing catch with his son.

Dads are cute! There is an attractiveness there and even this rather unsentimental gal can see their beauty and sweetness. We need good dads!

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't state the obvious connection to "Our Father" when speaking about Fathers' Day. And while I rejoiced for the new dads in my life and express deep gratitude for my own father yesterday, it was indeed The Big Guy who I spent the most time with and reflecting on yesterday.

I mentioned last post that I was struck by the sacrifice made by my friend through his priestly ordination (he is a "new father"!) Parents make sacrifices all over the place for their kids, and this is certainly a characteristic of Our Father too- sacrificing His Only Son for us.

Yesterday's Gospel was Luke 9: 18-24: Jesus asking his apostles, "Who do you say that I am?" and then telling all that the way to follow Him is to "Take up your cross"*.

I was using the missal in the pew before Mass to read the day's readings, and there was a reflection included for the day written by an unknown author. The author connected this question of Christ's identity to His sacrifice. Christ was telling his apostles that he IS the Son of God. Most of them already got this or sensed it, but it was through his SACRIFICE on the cross- the denial of himself for love of all- that people said "truly He was the Son of God".

The author suggested, isn't this the same with us? Through our daily self-denial, this is where we find our truest selves, our true identity. When we sacrifice for love, we discover ourselves.

Can this be true? Is this what Christ is saying in the Gospel?

As twisted as this may sound, I think some people (myself included) can find the Christian life almost glamorous. I know especially when I was young in my faith- high school and college in particular- I allowed my idealism that comes with that youth to believe that there was something glamorous to living Christianity in a radical "rock star" kind of way.

I did alot of mission trips, I did alot of inner city service helping the hungry and homeless, I discerned religious life...strange to think these things as glamorous, but I can't explain how youth and idealism kind of puts these things on a pedestal. When we are young, we are fearless and enthusiastic. Not that I'm not young now or unenthusiastic...but do you feel what I'm trying to say here?

And (shocker!) Christianity is not glamorous. As much as Jesus tried to tell us and show us this, I believe the apostles got caught up in the first rush of it too. Christ was telling them all these great things, new ideas they had never heard before. New ideals and philosophies can be liberating, empowering- and Christianity certainly should be- but...

But then the reality of it hits. Which is where I am at now and where I believe the author of this reflection was trying to take us. Taking up our cross and embracing our identity as Christians is in the everyday self-denial of very non-glamorous events.

So back to 'sacrifice'. Thinking about fathers and how they sacrifice, how Our Father sacrificed for us makes me think (as I mentioned last post) I wondered, how am I called to sacrifice right now?

I keep getting in prayer the word "remain" lately. I am also capitalizing on my new found friendship with the Holy Spirit (#newbesties! ;) and reading this amazing book called "The Sanctifier" which my spiritual director suggested to me last week. I love it when you pick up a book and it is so absolutely perfect and so absolutely God's time for you to read it....

Anyways, I guess I always saw the Spirit as a mover and a shaker. Like I've already said- a whirlwind that just shakes things up, but then he moves on. I should know better than this. By our Baptism and Confirmation we know we got the Spirit IN US. He LIVES THERE. He is a house-guest that sets up shop, paints the walls, and installs cable. He is kicking his feet up with the remote as we speak. He's IN there.

So the Spirit IS moving, but because He is connected to the love of the Father (he IS the love between the Father and the Son) He remains. And the Father seems to be telling me to remain physically but also spiritually right now. And that is a sacrifice for me.

The Holy Spirit and the Father were all up in my prayer yesterday, as you can see, and this is only the tip of the iceberg, really. You can be sure of many more insights from "The Sanctifier" to come, 'cause that's what I DO. I SHARE THINGS I'm reading ;) You are welcome ;)

I hope everyone had a very blessed Father's Day. May we find the sacrificial love of Our Father(s) to lead us and remain in us. Amen.

*This Gospel verse comes just in time for Workcamp! Last year, I sang the song "Take up Our Cross" from Spirit and Song at least 20 times that week (with love and fondness- it's a great song! ;) . I'm leaving on FRIDAY for Workcamp #1 of 2 this year! Pray for us and the 300+ teens that will be attending!


1 comment:

Rae said...

Thanks for plugging _The Sanctifier_. It's been sitting in my to-read pile for almost a year, and I just haven't gotten to it. Now I'm more motivated!