Monday, June 17, 2013

Agnese Janaro's Confirmation: A Father's Thoughts

Father and daughter at the reception
Agnese Janaro received the sacrament of Confirmation this past weekend. She took the name of St. Isaac Jogues (yes, you can pick a saint of either gender). She had read about him and was (no doubt) deeply impressed by his extraordinary Christian witness (who wouldn't be?), but she hasn't said much about why she chose him in particular. I am happy to respect her discretion.

I tease my poor girl too much. I want her to be confident that she can grow and have aspirations and try new things without thinking that her father is going to find out and start joking around and making her feel silly. Or that he's going to write about her adventures on his BLOG!

We love her so very much!

A little teasing, now and then, won't hurt her of course. She has her own sense of humor, and a heart inspired by courageous deeds. She is a marvel, and God is shaping her heart in His mysterious ways.

I spoke with her briefly the day before, because I wanted to express simply how much it meant to me in my own life to meet Jesus, to discover Him as a real Person, and to live a relationship with Him with all my desire. This is what matters in my life.

So I said a few awkward words. But more important than any words: does she see this in me, in the way I live the circumstances of my life as her mother's husband, as her father? Does she see this in the way I struggle every day with my disability and the limits it imposes on me; or in my struggles to overcome my sense of frustration and failure, and to battle against my own forgetfulness and the weight of selfishness and my countless petty faults? Does she see that (even with all my goofiness) He is the One who enables me to love her, and is the reason why I love her so much? Do I help her to see, not just in words but in real life, that He is real and He is here and that He loves us all? Do I help her to see that she can trust in His love?

I hope and pray that my life bears some witness to the real Jesus. The most important thing, of course, is that He is already here, with us, with her, already shaping her heart in His mysterious ways. This is the depths of her "self," this relationship that does not belong to me. God is her Father. Jesus and the Holy Spirit open her heart to this love.

But I have been given my own part to play, and I must carry it out in whatever circumstances. I must have the faith that gives me the confidence to get up again and again whenever I fail, and to thus witness through my life that His mercy sustains me.

His mercy is always worthy of trust.