As Jesus once said, “You will look for me but not find me” (John 7:34).
This weekend I have gone to my hometown of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin,
to celebrate Beaver Dam Lake Days with my family and friends.
Throughout the weekend there will be water-ski shows, fireworks, a
Sheeps-Head card tournament, a fish boil dinner, a pancake breakfast, several bands, mosquitoes, carnival rides, more mosquitoes, beer, and (of course) cheese.
Then Sunday morning I will skip the Ecumenical Polka Worship that is planned in the park and I will go to celebrate Mass at my hometown parish – St Katharine Drexel. I always get a lump of gratitude in my throat when I go back to the parish of my baptism. I think back to when I would kneel in those very pews as a child unaware at the time that I was receiving a gift that would make an absolute difference for my life.
Something beautiful is happening whenever we bring the children to God. So parents, let your children play sports. Have them learn to play musical instruments. Go fishing with them and put them on a water-slide every now and then. But most of all bring them to God. Have them meet Jesus. He’s a real person. Teach them to pray. It will save them.
Somebody once asked spiritual director Fr. John Bartunek, “How can I teach my children to pray?” He responded, By far, the most important factor in teaching your children to pray is your own example. By far. By far. Let me say it again: by far. This is common sense, but it is also supported by an abundant and still-accumulating amount of psychological research. The most influential factor in children’s development, even through and out of adolescence, is parental example... If you pray regularly, and your children know this and see this, they will find it much easier to weave prayer into their own lives, and, what is even more important in the long run, to consider prayer an essential part of being human. I love that last phrase – prayer is “an essential part of being human.” Without prayer we cannot find fulfillment, be complete, or flourish as humans.
While I am gone, Fr. Troy Przybilla, Vocation Director for the Archdiocese, has agreed to cover the weekend Masses here at Nativity of Mary. He will preach about vocations –learning to recognize and answer the call of God in our lives. I’m very grateful that he could come.
Thinking of you all from Beaver Dam! See you when I get home from home,
Fr. Dennis Zehren