A Note from our Pastor
A NOTE FROM FR. TONY
HOLY FAMILY…PART II
A couple of weeks ago I wrote on the Holy Family. Today I continue writing because family… biological, extended and spiritual really is everything.
The best Christmas present I received this year was from my 14-year-old granddaughter Ariel. She did a personal work of art with the words, “Mi Familia“ followed by the signatures of all the family members. It hangs on my bedroom wall next to the pictures of my two children’s families. For those who don’t know, I have an adopted Vietnamese daughter and an adopted Mexican son and between them they have eight children ranging in age from 32 down to 12.
Of all the things I’ve done in my life, probably the most important (next to my vocation) was adopt my two children. I can remember as a baby priest looking out over the playground of Saint Mary Church in Downers Grove and crying as the children played knowing that I would never have children of my own. God does, indeed, have a way of reading hearts. Thank you, Lord.
There is an old saying that says, if you really love someone, give them away. If they come back to you, they are yours to share with the Gift Giver, the God of love. If they don’t come back, they may never have been yours in the first place. What I have come to realize is that my children and my grandchildren are not my possessions. They are on loan from the Source of life, Who is Love.
My daughter once asked me what was the most wonderful thing I have ever done in my life. I smiled and told her, “adopting you!” And what was the most difficult thing you’ve ever done in your life? Easy answer. “Adopting you!” We can say that about all of the important relationships in our lives from spouses to children to parents. There is nothing more wonderful nor more difficult And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Two weeks ago when I preached on the Holy Family, I taught the congregants The Parents Prayer. It was taught to me by the old black matriarchs of my first parish in Hopkins Park. No one loved more deeply or often experienced so much pain in their relationship with those they love.
And so they taught me the prayer. It is a prayer I have prayed many times myself. It is best to use your own words but it goes something like this—
I continue to marvel at this but I dare to believe that you love my children (grandchildren) even more than I do. And you want only the very best for them as do I.
And so the greatest gift you ever gave me I give back to you: my child, my children, my grandchildren. If they are sleepingwalking I give you permission to do whatever is necessary to wake them up. If they need to fall a little and skin their knee, so be it, I only ask that you protect him from all harm physical, emotional and spiritual.
I thank you for loving them so profoundly as I give them back to you from whence they came. May you re-create them into the person they and you and I have always wanted them to be.
In Jesus name, Amen.
Blessed Holy Family to you all,