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 | Austin Smith

We Have a Good Dad and Mom

March 15, 2023 | This reflection is part of an occasional series that looks at how young men today are preparing for priesthood. These young men from our local community share personal milestones and special moments from their unique journeys.

Most of us know that by Baptism we are sons and daughters of God the Father, but do we know it in the core of our being?  Additionally, many of us have heard the Church called a Mother, but again, do we know this in our heart?

Some of us may look at God the Father and think that He wants to ruin us, take away our fun, chastise us harshly, is displeased (or even disgusted) with us, and/or wants to restrict our freedom.  Others may see the Church as out of touch, judgmental, or anti-science.  This is so far from the truth concerning both our Father in heaven and the Church our tender mother.

As a clarification, I am focusing on the person of the Trinity that is God the Father because I want to especially emphasize this place of intimacy we can have as sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven, a place of intimacy that of course does not and cannot exclude the other persons of the Trinity.

While many of us love God the Father, some of the best of us may struggle in tough moments or moments of shame to see God the Father as trustworthy; additionally, we may also struggle to see the Catholic Church as a trustworthy Mother when bad news about the Catholic Church is reported, or when we receive a less than welcome response from a Church member (yes, there is a long history of less than savory individuals in our Church along with all the awesome saints). 

So how can one grow in trust of God the Father and Mother Church?  Well, like any sons and daughters, we have to spend time with mom and dad to learn and be reminded of how good they are!  Instead of just saying one or two ways one could spend this quality time with God or His Church, I am going to give a couple lists of things that have helped me grow in trust, especially when times get tough!

God the Father:

-Spend 10 minutes a day in heartfelt conversation with Him, both speaking to Him from the heart, and listening to Him speaking in your thoughts (yes, God can speak to us any way, but especially in our thoughts).  Listen for the “small still voice,” a voice of freedom and recovery, healing, joy, and love.

-Imagine God the Father holding you as a child.  Especially imagine this when shame, fear, inner turmoil, temptation, etc. comes knocking.  Rest your head on His heart.

-Remember that God invented fun.

-Reflect on the Passion narratives from the Gospels (Luke 22-23, John 18-19, Matthew 26-27, Mark 14-15).

Mother Church:

-Make a heartfelt Confession and/or make a habit of regular Confession.

-Try out daily Mass.

-Pray the Rosary. (Our Mother Mary will certainly show us the goodness of the Church.)

-Pray the Divine Mercy chaplet.

-Try out the Liturgy of the Hours (the prayers prayed by priests, religious, seminarians and many lay people every day). Check out for the prayers or you can download the iBreviary app for your smart phone

-Look into the lives of the saints, especially those who may have had rough pasts and/or saints that are especially relatable and merciful, such as St. Augustine of Hippo, St. Mary of Egypt, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Faustina, and St. Thomas the Apostle.

-Volunteer for ministries through your local Catholic Church, such as food pantries, prison ministries, homeless ministries, youth ministries, Knights of Columbus, etc.

"He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends'...  He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours.'" Luke 15:29, 31

Austin Smith is a seminarian for the Diocese of St. Petersburg. He is in his junior year at St. Joseph Seminary College and his home parish is Nativity Catholic Church in Brandon.