“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love,” (Jn 15:9).
This Gospel verse was at the core of Fr. Larry Richards’ last talk during the Men’s Conference. Fr. Larry said that as men we should seek our holiness by becoming men of prayer and men of love.
On Sunday, June 19th, we celebrate Father’s Day. An excellent opportunity for those of us fathers to tell our children that we love them and back up those words by sacrificing our needs for theirs daily.
Fr. Larry’s poignant testimony concerning his father’s dead at 45 from cirrhosis of the liver, and how his father’s courageous ‘I love you’ from his dead bed was a climatic point during the Conference. That story hit home for me because my dad died of liver cancer when I was in my early twenties also. Unfortunately, although I was able to spend the last week my Dad was alive with my him, and I never doubted his love for me, I couldn’t muster the courage to tell him that I loved him.
“Why don’t we tell the people we love that we love them?!” Father Larry said during the talk. “Because we Catholics are very good at judging, but extremely bad at loving,” he said.
According to Fr. Larry, one concrete way we could become men who love is to write a letter to our wives and to each of our kids stating not only that we love them, but also why we do. Father predicted that 40% of the men present at the Conference would not follow through and write the letter. Although I did write a love letter to my wife that weekend, I must confess that I didn’t write one to my only child. However, I’m happy to announce I recently wrote a very short story to my five-year-old daughter telling her why Daddy loves her—I will read it to her for the first time on Father’s Day.
In the same way the fifteenth chapter of John’s Gospel records how Jesus told His disciples He loved them the night before His death, Fr. Larry instructed us to write our love letter to our wives and kids as if we were going to die the following day.
The love letters are only the beginning though. Loving our children is a daily commitment. We should tell our kids we love them everyday, but we should also show them we do by laying down our lives for them.
St. Joseph, foster-father of Our Lord Jesus Christ and Patron Saint of fathers, pray for us.
Let’s ponder: Did we write a love letter to our wives and children telling them we love them and why back in February as Fr. Larry told us to do? Or are we part of the 40% that Father said would not follow through with it?
Do we tell our kids we love them every day? Do we put their needs and wants ahead of ours so as to show them our love?
Let us Pray:
Come, Holy Spirit,
and fill my heart with Your gifts.
Let my love be true and my
charity be generous.
Help me in all my needs,
and grant me knowledge
to do what is right.
Advise me in my doubts,
strengthen me when I am tempted
and console me when I am afraid.
Graciously hear me, O Holy Spirit,
and pour Your light into
my heart, mind and soul.
Help me to live a holy life
and grow in goodness and grace.