The first thing that a person finds in life and the last to which he holds out his hand, and the most precious that he possess, even if he does not realize it, is family life. Blessed Adolph Kolping
"The history of mankind, the history of salvation, passes by way of the family. The family is placed at the center of the great struggle between good and evil, between life and death, between love and all that is opposed to love." Blessed Pope John Paul II
The other night, your father and I went to see one of our favourite Catholic speakers, Dr. Ray Guarendi. You know this, of course, as you got to have a babysitter and all of the fun and bending of house rules that comes with that. It was a good night for all.
I've been mulling over quite a bit that Dr. Ray shared with us last Friday night, as I tend to do with any new information that I've been given. Most frequently, the anecdotes he shared with us about his own father kept coming to mind. The focus for these little stories was discipline strategies and techniques, but the one "theme" that Dr. Ray kept returning to, over and over again, was that his knew just how much his father loved his children. In his words, which I will paraphrase, discipline worked for his father because the children knew that he "loved them desperately." Over and over again, Dr. Ray spoke of his own father's "desperate love" for his children.
I realized that I wanted to make sure that you knew, too, just how much you were loved and cherished. It sometimes feels like we're the odd family out - high expectations, discipline, faith-based family life, and so on. I hope, however, that you will be able to see....just like Dr. Ray did.....that all of this is done out of a burning love for you. Love, defined as wanting the ultimate good for the other person, is the basis of every single decision your father and I make.
We probably don't say it enough. We probably don't tell you enough just how much we love you. How your ultimate good - happiness with God in Heaven - is the reason for everything we do. We will try to say this more often, both in our words and our actions. Let me begin by starting here.
You three - and soon to be four - rascals are our gift from God. He has blessed us abundantly by placing you in our lives, and we will be forever grateful for this blessing. You are beautiful little boys, made in the image and likeness of our Creator. You shine with joy and love, and it is a brilliant, radiant light.
Our job, as your parents, is not to cushion you from the outside world, or throw you to the evils that can be found within it. We love you too much to do either of those. Our job, as your parents, is to be your primary source of education. Our job, as your parents, is to pass the truth of the Catholic faith on to you. This is hard, it is scary, and we often fail. But we will love you desperately through all of it.
The world out there is scary. It is filled with temptation and evil. It is hard to become the saint that each of us is called to become, when you are constantly being torn down or tempted by society and culture. Our job, as your parents, is to help you grow strong in your faith, to know your own Christian humanness, and to strive for holiness for each and every one of you. It's a daunting job.....but one that we accept because we love you. We truly and completely want to see you enjoying happiness in paradise someday.
So if there comes a time when we've fallen from a peak into one of those natural valleys of family life, please come back to this letter. We love you. Desperately. We only want what is truly best (Heaven) for you. Everything we do and decide - - from discipline to education to house rules - - is based on this one goal and undying love. Remember that.
Especially about 10 years from now when you are all teenagers. Please.
Love you always Rascals,