Friday, April 16, 2010

Happy birthday to two great fathers!

Today, of course, is Pope Benedict XVI's 83rd birthday, and despite all the absurd headlines following the media template (I swear, I saw one that said "Amid scandal, pope celebrates birthday...") most Catholics are quite willing to wish our Holy Father a happy birthday and pledge our support and prayers as he does more than anybody else has to tackle the problem of child sexual abuse (including the United Nations, which still allegedly has workers who have exploited children all over the globe, but it's not like there's a cover-up or anything going on there--those people, you see, have the right ideas about condoms, abortions, mindless sex acts for pleasure and the dehumanizing of the participants, etc., and thus can be indulged when they go trolling for a little third-world exploitation of underage boys and girls).

Many people are praying for Pope Benedict XVI, via special novenas and other devotions. On his birthday I'd like to add in one special prayer: this one, with the intention for the protection of the pope:
Glorious Saint Benedict, sublime model of virtue, pure vessel of God's grace! Behold me humbly kneeling at your feet. I implore you in your loving kindness to pray for me before the throne of God. To you I have recourse in the dangers that daily surround me. Shield me against my selfishness and my indifference to God and to my neighbor. Inspire me to imitate you in all things. May your blessing be with me always, so that I may see and serve Christ in others and work for His kingdom.

Graciously obtain for me from God those favors and graces which I need so much in the trials, miseries and afflictions of life. Your heart was always full of love, compassion and mercy toward those who were afflicted or troubled in any way. You never dismissed without consolation and assistance anyone who had recourse to you. I therefore invoke your powerful intercession, confident in the hope that you will hear my prayers and obtain for me the special grace and favor I earnestly implore. {mention your petition} [That Pope Benedict XVI will be protected against harm and strengthened in this hour of trial.]

Help me, great Saint Benedict, to live and die as a faithful child of God, to run in the sweetness of His loving will, and to attain the eternal happiness of heaven. Amen.
The second father I'd like to wish a happy birthday to is my own father, who shares the pope's birthday (but is quite a bit younger). :) Though we don't live close enough to my parents to take part in Dad's birthday celebrations, I'm grateful for my dad's presence in my life. Many people still don't realize how often the situation of fatherlessness leads to the exploitation of children. If we are angry that children are taken advantage of and abused, we ought to be even more angry at our culture which continues to insist that there's no fall-out whatsoever from the sexual revolution. A father is an irreplaceable force in his children's lives, and our culture's constant marginalization and denigration of fathers is only going to lead to more vulnerable children with more risk for abuse, not fewer.

Dad, happy birthday! Thanks for being there for us! We wish we could be with you today, to celebrate you, to raise a glass in your honor, and--let's face it--to help you enjoy whatever totally awesome dessert Mom's got planned for tonight. ;)

1 comment:

Dawn Farias said...

Happy Birthday(s)!!