Praised be Jesus Christ! A friend of mine shared the following with me: “The late great Charles Schultz... was a keen observer of personality and psychology, a social commentator, and even a kind of father figure. His Peanuts comic strip was in newspapers for fifty years and continues to be re-printed in many. In one episode, Lucy and Charlie Brown are talking about their dads. Lucy declares “My Dad is a better bowler than your Dad!” She continues with some facts about his bowling prowess. “He has a 185 average in his Monday night league, a 170 average in his Thursday night league, and a 204 average in his Friday night league!” finishing with her arms triumphantly in the air. Charlie Brown, having listened patiently with his arms behind his back simply said, “My Dad stays home at night.” Sometimes wisdom comes in such simple ways. My friend shared this anecdote as a part of his Father’s Day article some years ago, but it’s an insight that is timely for all of us as we yearn for the weather to finally allow us to break free from cabin fever. And while many people are busy, sometimes that is by choice more than circumstance. It’s one thing if a person is working two jobs to makes ends meet. But it’s a very different scenario if a person is signed up for a variety of groups and activities that, while enhancing their social life, takes them away from their family. We live in a time of unparalleled opportunities, but we need to learn discernment if we’re to avoid living fragmented lives. One of the benefits of growing closer to God is that He helps us find the right balance for living more and more for Him and for others. A life without God can turn in on itself, and then no amount of entertainment is ever enough. People who learn to pray also learn to think more instinctively of others, and this can lead to truly loving and being loved. Because prayer is a discipline that takes years to perfect, we might not give it enough time to truly affect the deepest part of ourselves. For example, if we only memorize a few prayers and sporadically say one or two, it’s not likely that we’re really being vulnerable with God. I remember being very frustrated with God because I was not playing well during my senior year of basketball. It was the most “real” I had ever been with God, as I was sad enough to cry and to beg God to help all of my hard work pay off. In retrospect, I was praying for what I wanted (or what I thought I needed or deserved) – not the best thing, but not the worst thing either. We have to begin somewhere, and for most of us prayer is our response to something we cannot control or overcome on our own. But that’s an authentic beginning and a much better response than to just immerse ourselves in other things. For example, Lucy’s Dad must not be all that happy in his marriage and with his family – why else would he tolerate being gone every other night? Staying home is harder when we don’t feel connected to God and to the people in our lives. It’s then that the restlessness gets the better of us and we feel bored and listless and are just looking for something to do. Someone once said that the problem with us is that we cannot abide our own company for more than five minutes! But for those who learn to pray, this changes slowly but surely. Ask anyone who began to make a Holy Hour once a week – at first an hour seemed like eternity, but gradually it has become such a blessing that it is never enough to receive all that God wants to give. The point is that Lucy’s Dad doesn’t have to give up bowling (I wouldn’t if I was that good!) – but if he prayed more, he would have more time for his family because his heart would be in a better place. Maybe we should pray more too...
May God bless all parents with the grace to love their children by spending quality time with them!
Your friend in Christ, Father Martin
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Welcome from Our Pastor
Welcome to Christ the King Catholic Church! Ever since 1938 this parish has been assisting souls in their quest for deeper union with God. Our mission statement is essentially found in the stained glass window above the main altar: “For Christ our King.” Insofar as God made us and we belong to Him, we have come to... Read More