Dose of Happiness

John Paul

John Paul

    Things going a little crazy right now?  Election got you in a funk?  Well how about a dose of happiness?  This is John Paul’s version of a pick you up smile!

    Catching babies and children is a hard task, but a little flash and quick thinking help.  In this case John Paul was happy since he was on a swing, and making it go very very fast.  The flash caught the action in freeze frame where it counted most: the eyes.  The flash also put a sparkle in the eyes which gives you a sense of life in a frozen frame.  His natural smile completes the moment without the typical childhood squint and cheese.

    This is what great family portraits are all about…making art where the going is rough!  

        

 

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Imagine the Love of God if…

    My daughter just finished a very special trip with her grandparents.  Ten days visiting Washington, D.C.; seeing godparents; enjoying some new clothes; but most of all enjoying a different vision of the world she lives in.  She learned a great deal about where she comes from on my side of the family.  My daughter lives a very virtuous life, and is a role model for me her Dad.  Her selflessness for living God’s law is impressive.  While she was gone though, her absence let me think about how God’s relationship with each of us in the story of the Prodigal Son.  This story is always about the tale of the two sons, but it also gives us a deep insight into the love of God for each of us.  

    In the previous excursions of my children with grandparents I never had a child who was at the age to explore life away from the family.  This time though, my daughter took a trek to the outstanding Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia.  There she met one possible destiny.  She saw shelves and shelves of great books.  She sat in classes where she had more of the Shakespeare memorization complete then the students (recent homework at Regina Caeli), and also experienced a class knowing she was not yet ready for it.  When she was done she found a great college, and felt it could be a home away from home for her.

   My young lady left, and seriously contemplated the next phase of her life.  Thankfully for me, her description of why included the statement “They really try to live out our Catholic faith there dad.”  In the story of the Prodigal son, however, the boy wanting to live in man’s world chooses to live by his own rules.  He leaves the father, and the father knows he may never come home.   This faithful father also realizes the son may also forfeit a home in heaven for his soul, and this fate would trouble the father even more than a failure to return to the family home. 

    When the father sees his son coming home repenting of his sins, he rejoices. He hugs and adorns his child with all he can.  While the physical return home is good, the father knows a repentant son will be with him forever in the paradise of heaven.  Since tradition teaches us the father is symbolizing God the Father, we know the human joy and love we see pales to the love God has for us.

    So when my daughter returned I rejoiced in having my faithful and true daughter in my care once again.  I also thought of the Father in the Prodigal Son.  Here a son, who was dead to him, returned home.  The son showed repentance, and demonstrated his embrace of the Lord’s ways.  If my joy was immense, I could only imagine the joy and love God poured forth into the moment when sinners come home.

    What an awesome God to believe in, and see reflected in natural law throughout history.

-ehw

Earned not Given: Lesson for the 4th

    This year the capstone challenge of my boys Blue Knight year was the annual board of review at Regina Caeli Academy.  (The full story of the event itself is here BOARD OF REVIEW) For the weeks leading up to the board I reinforced to the boys and their parents their awards were earned not given by saying:”When your friends ask about your awards you will be able to tell them in Blue Knights everything is earned not given.”

    This is a hard task we all must learn, and one fathers must teach repeatedly.  In my case I had one boy who was able to discuss each question for five minutes each in great detail.  The other son took a pretest in the kitchen as we cleaned up from dinner, and smugly thought his 80% was enough to stop studying….ah not in my house.  After a very serious discussion on how the name Wojtkun was the only thing I would ever give him, and how he was not going to drag it into the gutter he go serious.  So he was on cloud nine when he scored a 100% at the review, and earned the rank of Sergeant for next year the next week.

    So what does this have to do with the 4th of July?  Well everything.

    In 1776 our Continental Army was in the field for over a year, dying for American Independence. The men in Philadelphia used the words of Thomas Jefferson to define what we stood for as a nation, knowing by doing so they signed their own death warrant.  After years of fighting (remember the war went on past Yorktown in 1781) the Founders created a document forming a government which used checks and balances to keep the worst human failings in check.  

    Despite all the Founders did did generations ago, Benjamin Franklin responded prophetically to the question: “Well, Doctor, what have we got-a Republic or a Monarchy?” with “A Republic if you can keep it.”  Dr. Franklin knew human nature, and knew the lessons in his generation could not be passed on through our DNA.  A republic could only be passed on through teaching each generation the cold hard facts of our history, human nature, and the balancing grace of applying natural law.  Even with lessons learned, each generation must still earn a republic through application of those lessons to the events of their times.

    In today’s world we have a tendency to throw away the ideas of the past, thinking modern science can solve all problems.  The news reports today show the natural tendency for people to crave the warm security blanket of authoritarian rulers (if they agree with us).  These trends are disturbing, for they show people discarding the philosophical lessons (probably never learned and many times purposefully corrupted) of the founders.

   So today we must again decide if we want to continue earning our Republic, or throw it away and again come under authoritarian rule…from inside or outside our nation.  The threat is real, and only the willfully ignorant can’t see it.  

   Time to go pray for our nation and its people…that the light of freedom ignite in our souls once more.

-ehw