Sunday, June 20, 2010

father and son

The Runaway - Norman Rockwell
"how can i try to explain, when i do he turns away again.
it's always been the same, same old story.
from the moment i could talk i was ordered to listen.
now there's a way and i know that I have to go away.
i know i have to go. " (Cat Stevens - Father and Son -(video)-, 1970)
these are the words of a son speaking with/about his dad, in the song by Cat Stevens. a powerful song, for a powerful weekend - Father's day. the father doesn't understand his son's desire to explore the world. the son doesn't understand himself, and why his father won't let him go.
"when i was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant i could hardly stand to have the old man around. but when i got to be twenty-one, i was astonished by how much he'd learned in seven years." (Mark Twain)
i've learned a lot from my dad in the past few years, and i'm glad that some of his ideas are finally sinking in, that i'm finally letting them. just as dad gave me confidence, so does God - each and every day. as a boy, i had all the answers. as a young man, i was on top of the world. as a seminarian, i began questioning my so-called knowledge. as a priest, please, not to me, but to God give the glory! and so the father continues, ...
"it's not time to make a change,
just relax, take it easy.
you're still young, that's your fault,
there's so much you have to know"
as a young boy, a young man, a young seminarian, i thought i had all the answers. in my frustrated responses, i am now understanding better my role as Father. i was tentative in my first step of the priesthood. but then i took another one, and another.
"i was once like you are now, and i know that it's not easy,
to be calm when you've found something going on.
but take your time, think a lot,
why, think of everything you've got.
for you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not."
and so the father continues and the son, me, after a year of ups and downs in the priesthood, i'm ready to listen to my brothers, to my Lord and my God. this year has been a time of growing up, in the priesthood - both as a Christian with you, and as a priest for you. i do think a lot, and continue to feel deep inside that i have something to say.

this year had me begging for answers on my knees, and jumping up and down for joy. "what's going on" was my refrain through it all, what do you want from me? however, the people of God, kept me on the path of holiness.
"all the times that i cried, keeping all the things i knew inside,
it's hard, but it's harder to ignore it."
as a young boy, i was a know-it-all, and could do everything alone. i'm still learning! listening to the Father, i am never alone, and never will be again. as the antiphon read a few weeks ago, my support is in You my God, and i am no longer afraid. the question is not "what's going on", but "what would you like me to do today?" not as in "whataya want from me?" à la Adam Lambert, in some kind of desperation, discouragement, despair. but rather, with peace of heart à la Paramore. the only exception for me is Our Lord Jesus Christ! there is no other. love God, love neighbour. what more can there ever be! and woe to me if i don't sing (preach the Good News).

back to father and son, and son becoming Father jsb! it's been the journey of a lifetime. but, of course, how can we forget mothers, on this beautiful Father's day! "behind every man is a good woman. behind every priest is Mary." have a great weekend this Father's day weekend, and be sure to buy a beautiful tie for dad! however, don't forget to pray for your priests, that they may, in the words of my spiritual father, ABP Terry:
"by Your Spirit, mould in the heart of Mary to be the image of your Son, faithful stewards of your grace. Shape them into zealous apostles, who will preach the Gospel with boldness, celebrate the Eucharist with reverence and beliving signs of your love for all people." (Prayer for Vocations, Year for Priest 2009/2010)

1 comment:

  1. That was very beautiful Father Jonathon! Thank you and Happy Father's Day!
    By the way, I have a suggestion that we continue to pray the Archbishop's beautiful prayer for priests after Sunday masses even though the Year of the Priest is officially over. May God bless you!