Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Because That's What Dads Do


Are you still praying the Novena with us?  
Today's the last day!

I have to tell you how grateful I am again for so many people joining in to pray together and what an absolute privilege it is to pray for your husbands and hear your stories.  I have no doubt that the Lord can do amazing things through this and I hope it will bear fruit in your families, if it hasn't already.  May our husbands become more and more the men that the Lord calls them to be and may we continually lift them up in prayer and help do our part to bring them to heaven!

Last year I decided that St. Joseph's Day would be a day in our home to honor our own Joseph.  So we'll go to Mass and instead of an Italian feast tonight, we'll have steak and potatoes and broccoli and brownies (maybe I'll even go all out and take them out of the baking dish ;) because those are Brian's favorites.  I can't help but think that St. Joseph would rather our little family do that than anything else.  What a tangible way that I can imitate Mary and teach my children to imitate Jesus both of whom chose to honor the man that God had chosen for them. 

I wonder what kind of dad St. Joseph was.  How he interacted with Jesus.  Traditions tell us that he was silent and honorable and humble.  Scripture simply says he was "just" and shows him to be trusting and obedient.  But that doesn't tell us much about what day to day life looked like during those hidden years that we know so little about.  Did he play with Jesus?  Every great dad I know takes time not only to teach but to simply engage with their kids.  To play with them!  Did St. Joseph do that?  I don't know much about ancient Jewish family culture and male cultural norms but right now I'm going to imagine that he did.  Because that's what dads do and Joseph was His dad, His first abba.  

What would it be like to be playing ball or roughhousing with Jesus?  Would Mary have experienced that feeling I know all too well?  I have no idea why this is fun and who will end up hurt but I just have to let them do this.  It's important even if I don't understand why.  This kind of play is so important for children.  Time with their dads.  It's a wise mother who learns to let it happen and not interfere too much.  Jesus shared completely in our humanity, including being placed into a normal family.  He was a boy who needed a father to help form Him into the Man He was to become.  He knew what it was like to need a father and since St. Joseph was not sinless even if he was a wonderful and holy man, He probably knew what it was like to see that man's faults, too.  

And something else to ponder:  Just like our own relationships with our fathers, Joseph was the avenue through which Jesus would shape His psychological understanding of father and ultimately of THE Father.  Wow.  How about that?  Is St. Joseph the one who taught Jesus to trust in the Father as "Abba"?  Was St. Joseph the one to whom our Lord first used that title?  

Huh.  I think I'm loving this St. Joseph more and more.  And the more I see how Brian loves and interacts with his kids and how every first born son I know is SO much like their father, the more I can appreciate just how important St. Joseph really is.  And why it's cool to have a day to honor that. 







(I think we need to see a painting of Joseph and Jesus doing this :)




Getting ready for the dive. 




Happy St. Joseph's Day!  
May he continue to intercede for all of our families and especially for those men for whom we have been praying.





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4 comments:

  1. I love it when Mike comes home and does this with the kids. They all pile up on him and wrestle and laugh and get some special time with daddy...cuz' they sure aren't going to see mommy doing that, especially at 35 weeks prego ;) It's so cool how they get different things from each parent. When they do get hurt, they come right to mommy, but when they want to play and have fun and be crazy, thats all daddy.

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  2. Thank you so much for your beautiful posts about fatherhood, husbands, marriages and St. Joseph! We can never let down our guards and we (women) have to pray, pray, pray for our husbands and families. This past year I witnessed the break up of a 41 year marriage and I can't talk about it or think about it without weeping. I prayed this novena for them, for you and Brian, for "all the names on your list" and of course for my own husband. We are 36 years married (next month), thanks be to God and are in a bit of a slump right now---but God will see us through as He has so many times before. I'd like to send you a book, "Father and Son, A Nativity Story" by Geraldine McCaughrean. It captured my heart a few years ago at an after Christmas sale and I bought every copy I could find and gave them away to all my friends with young children. It illustrates many of the scenes you wonder about above. It's the story of St. Joseph, wondering about his newborn Son. Here's one page: "What games shall we play, boy, you and I? I mean, how can I rough -and-tumble with someone who pinned the ocean in place with a single, tack-headed moon?" and the picture is of Joseph and Jesus splashing in the sea. Anyway, I'd like to send it to say thank you for the encouragement!

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    Replies
    1. Wow, that sounds beautiful and that is so generous of you, Linda! I'll email you :)

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  3. Mary, these pictures are ones to treasure!
    Even though I secretly (not anymore!) can't stand rough and tumble play, I always keep my mouth shut and let it happen :) I don't like it, but I appreciate it - does that make sense? - for the reasons you mentioned. I am always so grateful that our kids have a mom AND a dad and that we interact differently with them.
    Anyway, thanks for leading the Novena. I really appreciate it!

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