Thursday, November 09, 2006

In memoriam...Dad

My father died 7 years ago today. The whole story of that week is definitely one to be told-but not today.

I remember the Sunday after the funeral: the Gospel was the parable of the talents. I remember listening to that parable as if for the first time as I related it to the gift God had given me in my parents. My parents had passed on the Faith to us-and the question to me that Sunday morning, as I contemplated especially my father's impact on my life, was whether I was burying this great gift from God or trying to use it and make it multiply as did the faithful servants.

G0d has bestowed each of us with many gifts-some unknown and/or unrecognized. We should tremble if we don't contemplate occasionally how we are using God's gifts to further His kingdom.

In my case, the gift of Faith given through my parents was not a casual one. When our local parish growing up stopped teaching recognizable Catholic doctrine in CCD, my parents began regular classes at home. Sunday mornings we would return home after Mass, eat breakfast, say the rosary, and then break into groups for religion. My mother would take the younger kids and my father, the older ones. I can vividly recall sitting around the dining room table with my father on those Sunday mornings for what we kids affectionately called "The Talk". Each year we would alternate between reading one of the Gospels and studying the Baltimore Catechism. I loved these sessions. My oldest sister constantly asked questions, going deeper or asking Why?- which made it all the more interesting.

My parents' faith was/is deep and open. For example, we knew that my father said the rosary on the train each day going to or from work in Boston. We said prayers together every night. My mother kept our 'library' well-stocked with the lives of the saints. Catholic periodicals lay on the tables in the living room. The small but significant Catholic customs we practiced, like singing 'Happy Birthday" to Christ before opening, or even looking at the presents; all of these things illuminated the committment of my parents to the Faith. I tell my children that their Catholicism is a direct result of the gift from God that my parents gave to me.

I try to take stock every once in a while-and especially on this anniversary-to see if I am burying this 'talent', or nurturing and letting God work with it in my life. I always come up short-but in making this examination, at least I have the chance to throw away the shovel and to start anew.

I thank God for the wonderful blessings He has given me. I have never known want or suffering. Everything I have ever needed has been provided. Most especially, God gave me the gift of Faith, by way of the cooperation of His faithful servants-my parents. My own Mrs. Curley and my Curley kids are some of the fruits of this cooperation of my parents with God's plan. I am deeply grateful-but I fear not nearly grateful enough-Oremus pro invicem!

DEUS, qui nos patrem et matrem honorare praecepisti: miserere clementer animae patris mei eiusque peccata dimitte : meque eum in aeternae claritatis gaudio fac videre. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

[O God, who hast commanded us to honor our father and mother: in Thy mercy have pity on the soul of my father and forgive him his trespasses; and make me to see him again in the joy of everlasting brightness. Amen.]

May he and all the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace! Amen.

1 comment:

Jeff Culbreath said...

A beautiful tribute to a great man. May he rest in peace and intercede for all of us struggling Catholic fathers.