8 Ways to Be an Awesome Dad

Be An Awesome Dad

Pope Francis has called Jesus’ Beatitudes our “guide on the path of Christian life.” They reveal something about the ways God the Father relates to us, his children. Seen in this light, the Beatitudes present a unique opportunity for Christian men to become fathers after the Father’s own heart.

 That’s why I wrote The BeDADitudes: 8 Ways to Be an Awesome Dad, which looks at how the Beatitudes can shed light on a uniquely Christian vision of masculinity, in general, and fatherhood, in particular. Here’s how the eight Beatitudes can help you be the father God is calling you to be.

How Do You Pray? 5 Daily Prayers for Busy Families

Our family life is hectic, chaotic and disorganized.  And that was before we were blessed with children.

There are certain times we do come together to pray on a consistent basis, and, well – if we can do it, then I am sure you can too!

When do we pray?

We pray consistently before meals and before bedtime.

We make a serious effort to eat dinner as a family. Lately, it has been a challenge and it doesn’t always happen, but that is not the norm. One thing we do well is family dinner time.

If having dinner together in your family is the norm, that makes praying beforehand a completely attainable goal.

We also pray before bedtime.

Part of our “tucking in” routine involves bedtime prayer. In our house it usually is just one parent at this stage, but we have done this as a family as well.

How Do You Pray? A Stay-At-Home Mom's Prayer Routine

For our family, prayer is always present, but very changeable. Our routine may change due to preference, a change in liturgical season, welcoming a baby and making prayer fit with the changing ages of our children. Though our prayer routine fluctuates often, we never go a day without praying at least a little bit.

Mary Gardens


As the weather turns warm with the coming of spring, many people are beginning to make plans for the coming gardening season. Most avid gardeners will tell you that they feel closer to God while working in their gardens than they do anywhere else. Planting, weeding, pruning, weeding, mulching, weeding, harvesting, and weeding are all opportunities to reconnect to God’s ongoing work of creation. Gardens are places to work the soil, but they can also be places to pray and seek a few moments of solitude.


 


From the earliest centuries of the Christian faith, people have seen in various plants echoes of religious and spiritual themes. Many of these are reflected in gardening folklore and even in the names of the flowers and herbs themselves: Mary’s Bedstraw, Ladder-to-Heaven, Penitent’s Rose, or Crown of Thorns. Like living stained glass, these flower and herbs became symbols of faith. And cultivating them became a means of prayer and contemplation.  Today, many gardeners plant whole gardens dedicated to religious and biblical themes.


 


Among Catholics, “Mary’s Gardens” are popular and are filled with plants whose names and folklore mention the Virgin Mary. In Washington, DC, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception has a large Mary’s Garden, given to the Shrine by the National Council of Catholic Women.  (Rev. Larry Rice, CSP*)



If you’d like to start a Mary’s Garden at your church or in your own yard, there are lots of resources available on the internet. You can find lists of plants, references for folklore, photos, design suggestions, and information on plants and their symbolism. 


For example:

Living Easter as a Parish

Shortly after I was ordained, I was asked to give a tour of our parish church to an interdenominational group.  A woman stopped me and asked, “Don’t Catholics believe in the resurrection of Jesus?” I assured that we not only believed, but that that doctrine is central to our understanding of salvation. 


At that, the woman pointed to the crucifix and added, “Then why do you still depict Jesus dying instead of having an empty cross?”


I admit that I was surprised by the woman’s assumption, but since then I have become grateful for her questioning. Having grown up Catholic and having looked at a lifetime of crucifixes, I had never found any contradiction in seeing Jesus on the Cross and believing that Jesus rose from the dead.

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