Lots of great things have been happening at St. Sebastian Parish. Well - things that I find extremely fascinating and that I am excited about and want to talk about, but there is a limited audience with whom one can share that kind of excitement.
It is possible to share your success stories with your priest friends - especially your classmates and your close associates. But there is a limit. There is no doubt that they are happy for you and wish you the best, but as one gentlemen spoke of last week (not clergy) there is that moment when you can see the switch flip behind the eyes of your friends and instead of interest they are now on auto pilot waiting for you to finish or at least taking a breath long enough for them to say, “So what else is happening?”
And really - that is understandable. I admit to being the same way. We may be brother priests, and it may be that we are all supposed to pull together to make this Church thing work, but we were unwittingly trained (things are changing now) to make OUR parish and OUR school for which we are responsible as healthy as they can be and unfortunately that inspires a bit of competition. I think of my classmate down in New Franklin who has seminarians coming out of his ears, who runs some wonderful spiritual programs that perhaps every parish should have, and who is so darn thoughtful that I want to beat him with a stick. So hearing of his many and varied successes, I start thinking, “Hey you big oaf, why don’t YOU get on the stick and accomplish more like your classmate here?” That’s when the switch flips behind my eyes, I wait for a break, and then ask, “So what else is going on?” maybe to stop feeling guilty that I am not accomplishing more.
That is where a good dad comes in. A guy in the parish and I were lamenting the deaths of our fathers. A good father as a male role model can be The Guy that cheers you on. There is no competition with Dad. When you were younger he was already better at everything than you (or at least seemed to be) and when you were older, he’s already moved on to other things and you are not the competition. Hopefully he sees something of himself in you and so can be proud of your accomplishments and instead of the switch flipping behind the eyes, he can say, “Tell me more. Then what happened? That is awesome!”
To those dads who can do this - your sons thank you. In this way you exemplify The Father and the way He loves His sons and daughters. We need more male role models like you. You are more important and awesome than you know - more vital to the mission of Christ than you can realize.
Thanks both dads and those who love us like a dad.