Skip to main content

Joy of the Family - June 2018

OPENING PRAYER

Heavenly Father,
giving and forgiving,
we praise you and thank you
for loving us as we are
All life comes from you and
returns to you more abundantly
through the redeeming love of Jesus Christ
and with constant guidance of your Holy Spirit.
All glory and honor are yours,
now and forever.
Amen.

READINGS

Luke 15:11-13,20,25-28,31-32

Then he said, “A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So, the Father divided the property between them. After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.… So, [Coming to his senses…] he got up and went back to his father.  While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him and was filled with compassion.  He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. … Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing.  He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.  The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’  He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him … He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’”

AMORIS LAETITIA

"It is not good for children to lack a father and to grow up before they are ready." N.177  

God sets the father in the family so that by the gifts of his masculinity he can be ‘close to his wife and share everything, joy and sorrow, hope and hardship.  And to be close to his children as they grow – when they play and when they work when they are carefree and when they are distressed, when they are talkative and when they are silent, when they are daring and when they are afraid, when they stray and when they get back on the right path.  To be a father who is always present.  (N. 177)

CONTEMPLATE & SHARE

•   What brings you and your family joy? When and how do you share this joy with others?

   Who are the men that show you fatherly care? What have you learned from them about faith and acting with the ever-present, forgiving love of God?  

•  Have each member of your household say one thing he or she knows or believes about God’s grace. How do encounter God’s grace through your participation in the Mass and in the life of a local parish?

INTERCESSIONS

Corpus Christi Sunday, June 5/6 -   May the solemn feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ inspire acts of sacrificial love among family members, we pray to the Lord:  

Tenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, June 9/10 - May St. Joseph, the husband of Mary and foster father of Jesus, be a model for all Christian husbands and fathers, we pray to the Lord:

Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time, June 16/17 - May all Christian fathers convey evangelical joy and fidelity in living out their vocation, we pray to the Lord:

Nativity of St. John the Baptist, June 23/24 May the heroic example of Zachariah and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist, be a source of hope for all couples who welcome children into their lives and families later in life, we pray to the Lord:

CLOSING PRAYER

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

JOY IN ACTION

Weekly suggestions for the faithful to consider

June 3: Consider joining a “That Man is You” group if your parish or a nearby parish has one.

June 10: Offer a prayer to Saint Joseph for your father and for his intentions.

June 17  Write your dad a short letter, create a video, or draw a picture telling him what you love and respect about him.

June 24:  Ask your father to share some memories of his upbringing such as his first house, his first Communion, his wedding day, etc.

REFLECTION

The Joy of Fatherhood
By: Dave Guthro, Communications Director for the Diocese of Portland

“Who should we pray for today, Grace?”

“Today, I want to pray for everyone in the whole wide world because God loves us.”

It’s a question and answer that has become routine on Sunday mornings as we kneel in our pew during Communion. My daughter, Grace, is only four, but her love of being at Mass extends further. She would kick in the womb as Fr. Tom Murphy delivered his homilies and rarely fussed as a baby, often staring at the man in white standing in the sanctuary. As she grows, so does her excitement of attending Mass. The thought of receiving a “special blessing from the priest” and dropping money in the collection basket now leaves her wiggling in her seat in anticipation.

As a person who writes as part of his job, I’m embarrassed, yet blessed, to admit that describing the joy of fatherhood is a tough assignment. How do you explain the happiness and total bliss that comes with a hug and a kiss or the way my heart warms and tears form when “I love you more than anything in the whole world, Daddy” emerges from that smiling face? Even the special pride I see in the eyes of my parents as they see their baby boy reading the same books to her that they read to me elicits a feeling of fulfillment in all of us.

Fittingly, the word “grace” is defined as “unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their sanctification, a virtue coming from God.” My Grace has certainly made my family’s life holier as we open her heart to the wonder of Jesus and try to live our lives by sharing his love and peace with those around us.

Grace has helped us draw closer to God as well. When she was just days old, she was rushed to Maine Medical Center with possible seizures. As any parent can relate, we were reeling and searching for strength. In Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis wrote: “In all families, the Good News needs to resound, in good times and in bad, as a source of light along the way.” Our faith and the prayers of Fr. Bob Vaillancourt, a chaplain at the hospital at the time, carried us through this time of great stress and uncertainty. The symptoms thankfully turned out to be a simple and harmless case of acid reflux, but the experience reminded my wife and I about how blessed we are to have a strong relationship with God and how important it would be to instill an appreciation of that love in Grace.

Fatherhood is a blessing, but as I have discovered, it is also a vocation. It is a chance to show others the generous love of God through the caring, self-giving, and happiness we share in our family and show Grace the way to live. In our home and community, we strive to listen, to share, to be patient, to show respect to all we encounter, and to serve. Grace picks out canned goods at the supermarket and selects toys to donate for children in need because “some kids aren’t as lucky as me.” She is already learning that it is better to give than to receive. “By their witness as well as their words, families speak to others of Jesus. They pass on the faith, they arouse a desire for God, and they reflect the beauty of the Gospel and its way of life.” (Amoris Laetitia, N. 184).

We are far from perfect, but we live in love and keep moving forward, finding our strength and guidance in God. What could bring more joyful than that?