No Greater Gift

Clergy Corner by Fr. Robert Falabella for October 18, 2015

Clergy Corner by Fr. Robert Falabella for October 18, 2015.

___________________________________________________________________________

It is true, I believe, to say that parents want the best for their children. How often have I heard parents tell me that their joy is in seeing that their children have many of things they themselves never had when they were growing up.

Unfortunately, as a Priest I have often experienced parents expressing their anguish and pain that has come to them from their children not showing respectful gratitude for all the good things the parents provided for them -- often at great self-sacrifice.

But how could those children appreciate how wonderful it has been to have whatever their little hearts desired when these children have never known what it means never to have had such an experience of doing without?

The benefit of giving one’s time to their children, rather than things, is that there is nothing in those  things manufactured by strangers that has anything to do with the personal and loving presence of parents, when they give of their time and so of their loving presence to their children.

It is true that many parents involve themselves in bringing their children to various activities such as soccer, volleyball or swimming practice; music or dance lessons, etc. -- but how often have I heard children in confession mention they were unable to attend Mass  because of a conflict with a competitive team meet, or that ‘dad’ had a Sunday golf round to enjoy, and so there was no family participation in God’s invitation to be with Him through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

What this tells the priest is that the parents are sending a message to their children that SOCIAL ACTIVITIES take precedence over their relationship with GOD !!

Good parents want the best for their children. When “God” is not considered the “best” for their children -- when passing worldly activities take precedence over spiritual activities that have eternal consequences, namely consequences that deal with the health and   salvation of the eternal souls of oneself and one’s children, such parents are failing themselves in their mission as parents who are called to be the heavenly Father’s proxy representative in this passing world. Parents, then, are to exemplify to their children a loving awareness of God and of one’s gratitude and responsibility to being obedient to the Commandments of God. And let us remember that this obedience is not to be expressed as rigid submission to God, but an obedience in the image of Christ Jesus -- having love as the basis of this obedience!!

For those parents who understand what it means authentically to love their children, such a love then will involve a Christlike love! By parents witnessing to their children the love of Christ in their lives, they are giving to their children the best of all gifts -- an example of loving with the love of God -- the only eternal love that not even “death” can steal away!

In essence, then, sharing this kind of love with the Presence of Christ Jesus IN THEIR OWN LIVES to one’s children -- what better gift of love is there: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that those who believe in him, would not perish, but have eternal life!” If parents want the best for their children, what better gift then is there that they share in the eternal life of the risen Christ -- the fullest expression of which is experienced when one’s entire family, mom, dad and children share in God’s Sacrament of love to us -- the Holy Eucharist -- the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of His Son Jesus Christ -- which  welcomes us into the Family of God!!

If the heavenly Father would share His Divine Son with us out of His love for us, would not such love of parents be truly a Godly love in their sharing such love of God with their children? And would not this “Fiat” on the part of  parents, like the “Fiat” of the Blessed Mother, be a continuing manifestation of their acceptance of God’s gift to them of being made in His image and likeness, and  wanting to be one with His Divine Will? Too often can one take for granted and soon forget that to be made in God’s image and likeness is a privilege given only to mankind -- a privilege not experienced by all other living creatures on this earth. Yet, there are those among us who have lost this gift, by living godless lives, as expressed in worldly life styles -- glorified in all walks of life -- be it in the media, educational institutions, political and judicial structures, entertainment, etc., which, by life style, renounce the Commandments of God, the Creator, in favor of the “creature” summed up in Satan’s “I will not serve” -- all of which demand that you embrace their own godless image rather than the image of God!!

As parents, you want the best for your children! When Jesus revealed: “What doth it profit if one gains the whole world, but suffers the loss of his soul, or what exchange shall he make for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels and then will he render to every man according to his works” (Matthew 16:26-27). In one’s soul, then, is God’s gift of His Image and Likeness. And this scriptural passage implies the stakes are high -- for before us is eternity!! What then can this temporal, passing world give to you and your loved ones that can compare to the assurance of an eternal life of  happiness with the God of everlasting Love -- an assurance found in the gift of being made in the image and likeness of God. The choice we make is manifested in the lives we live -- the image we ultimately bring before God in Judgment -- the effects of which we will take with us into eternity.

Tags: clergy corner, Fr. Robert
 

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