Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all, taught us to pray. We read in St. Matthew's Gospel: "Pray then like this: Our Father who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name." (6:9)
We know the Lord's prayer continues, but I desire to stop at this point for the sake of meditation.
This past weekend we celebrated Father's Day. Through our celebration of Father's Day, we honor the men who have given us life and who have been a father-like figure for us. We honor the men who have protected us, provided for us and who have striven to establish a solid foundation for our lives.
Over the past few years, I have more fully realized the blessing of my dad. He has worked hard to provide for our family throughout the years. I know that he loves my mother and that he loves me and my brother. At times during my upbringing, I did not take time to realize the blessing of my dad. He has helped to give me confidence to live life to the fullest through his support and affirmation.
Through our baptism, we became beloved sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. We have the greatest blessing of being children of God and yet we so often forget this blessing.
Being children of God should be our primary identity, and we often allow other things to more fully define us. We tend to compare ourselves to other people and allow people, jobs or hobbies to define us more than God.
We allow our self-worth to be determined by how these things transpire. Sometimes they do not transpire well and eventually all earthly things come to an end. If these things primarily define us, we can struggle with our self-worth. What once brought deep meaning to our lives may no longer be.
I think of the athlete whose sport primarily defined him, but then due to injury, he is no longer able to take part in the sport or at least to the point of success he formerly knew. His self-worth may not be very strong if his sport is what primarily defines him.
Our Heavenly Father desires to primarily define us. Whenever we sincerely pray the Lord's prayer, we should recall this blessing. In praying the Lord's prayer many times throughout our lives, we, as Christians, sometimes fail to recall the deeper meaning. We sometimes simply say the words, and it is unfortunate when we do so.
The more often we truly call upon God as our Father and make holy God's name, not just another name, the stronger we will be in living our lives, a journey that can be difficult at times.
I appreciate the Scripture verse: "If God is for us, who is against us?" (Romans 8:31) Though we may fall short from an earthly perspective in the various things that we do, if God is our Father and God is "for us," then we can persevere in whatever we go through in our lifetime.
We may not have the blessing of an earthly father, or the earthly father-figures in our lives may disappoint us, but when we know, and recall often, that we are children of our Heavenly Father, we will experience the support, affirmation and grace to persevere through whatever comes our way.
We should never cease to thank our Father in Heaven for the blessing of being called his children and we should honor him every day of our lives, so that we may one day know the blessing of his company in Heaven.
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Father Blake Rozier is pastor at Immaculate Heart Catholic Church in Crosslake and St. Emily's Catholic Church in Emily.