Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.

My wife is in LA visiting our daughter, our son-in-law and on Sunday morning, our newest grandchild – please remember them in your prayers this weekend.  Cecilia and Garrett are about to experience one of the most awesome things in life and that is being a parent.  Sarah and I had 8 children and didn’t not take the experience of childbirth for granted at any time.  We understood fully that each child was God’s blessing and we understood fully our responsibility in raising this child not only as ours, but God’s.  It was in having our children that we were able to better understand the message of today’s Gospel.  I would hazard a guess that most parents came to understand the meaning of taking up His cross, denying yourself and following Christ after having a child (or multiple children).  Childbirth is a life changing experience.  Your priorities are no longer focused on what is best for ME but what is best for the family.  Your work takes on a different meaning; your marriage takes on a different meaning; your commitment to God and Church takes on a different meaning.  Is it easy?  Nope.  Sleep changes, schedule changes, lifestyle changes – life itself takes on a different purpose.  Is it worth it?  Oh my gosh – YES.  The memories, the shared experiences, the wins and losses, grade school, high school, college, sports, vacations, weddings, grandchildren.  Good times, bad times, you know I’ve had my share…wait, I think somebody already coined that phrase.  It’s hard to sum up 31 years of parenthood in 300 words or less, but it’s amazing that (one) how quickly it goes by and (B), how this experience has brought me closer to God.  Our God is an awesome God and in my life, it has been my honor to be the father of my children – all of whom remind me of just how awesome God is.

Good luck Garrett and Cecilia.  Late nights, early mornings and a whole lot of special times are coming your way…

Do something great for our Lord today – deny yourself and take up your cross.  Find that path to God and follow it daily.  Oh, and it’s your turn to get up and see what the baby is crying about now…how many bottles can one child drink in a night?

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  Compete well for the faith.

Eternal God, in Whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion – inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us so that in difficult moments we may not despair nor become despondent but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will which is Love and Mercy itself.

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