My Son as the Wonderboy Lieutenant Colonel
As a college student I really enjoyed my history assignments. Being a photo guy, I of course dug deeply into my pictures, maps and diagrams. In my senior year at West Point I watched my company pass in review on parade on my first personally acquired camera. When I printed the photos I found myself looking at a present day image, which could be from the relatively distant past if were not for some modern building in the background.
I was soon looking at every historical image differently. Every image of a battle, congressional debate, city street, factory or farm had me replacing the face of yesteryear with one of ours. We could be those past people, if it was not for an accident of historical timing. This made me appreciate photography even more, and my own place in history.
The event also made me remember a quote I heard from President Ronald Reagan a few years earlier:
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
(From the Quotations Page)
While our DNA will allow us to recreate moments as actors from the past with ease, certain important lessons such as the American concept of freedom only will be passed on and lived with through deliberate efforts. Putting myself into the shoes of soldiers, statesmen, explorers, industrialists, farmers and my forefathers getting off the boat only made this lesson easier to understand.
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.
I’m on a trip to D.C. and I really wanted to walk the city a bit…well at 7 degrees this morning and 15 this evening walking around town was not an option. It was to work, to a meal along the way back and to bed. I just don’t have the right hot gear to have photography fun today. I’m also really tired after a long day of work. I think I walked an easy six to seven miles today between meetings and around the city. I should be in better shape…
Today out of the blue a friend of mine called to tell me he had joined the Knights of Columbus this year…always wanted to, and finally did it this year. I was overjoyed to hear the news. See my favorite memories from my last stint here in Virginia came mostly from my work with the Knights.
Instead of a current memory I thought back to my favorite memories of my previous years here in the region. An this image taken last year about this time was one bringing back good times with my friends helping others, caring for our families or being the visible arm of the order!
Our first President, and the Congress of the United States, dedicated this day to praying and giving thanks to God. In the final paragraph we see him calling all public and private people to do our duties faithfully. He also asks us to “promote the knowledge and and practice of true religion and virtue.” As you can see there is no separation of church and state. To George Washington our bounty comes from God, and our personal duty is to live in accordance with Nature’s Law. To Christians this means we must live inside God’s design for the world in all that we do.
In fact, to achieve personal and national civility we must receive adhere to this guidance. The result of dismissing this call to Nature’s Law is chaos.
We need to look no further than the debates on Furgeson to recognize this. Rioters in the streets don’t care that the man killed willfully beat a man to rob his store moments before his encoutner with Police. They do not want to recognize that the man was high on illegal drugs, something that would impair his judgement even more. Obtaining supplies for this habit was the reason he robbed the store, and was wanted by police. The natural effect of giving into vices such as these is a bad conflict with those entrusted by the citizens to protect them from such abusive behavior.
The solution to this type of problem is simple. It is to live inside natural law. To Christians this means simply to live out the Golden Rule…and your relations with others in your community will start off on good footing. To solve many other problems we face, there is a good book that is our family instruction manual I can recommend: The Bible. Start with Poverbs and Wisdom…then move up to read of the word made man in the Gospel and natural law will unfold before your eyes.
So make today something more than turkey and football. Make today a moment that changes your life, and that of your family. Give thanks to God Almighty, and point your family to the eternal wisdom of his word. The greatest thanks you can offer God, is to deliver your house to stand with him.