July 17, 2015

Be Our Guest / Harold Weber

Father’s insight, guidance help son embrace his faith throughout life

Every Sunday at Mass, I think of my dad. When we stand as a group holding hands reciting the Lord’s Prayer and everyone else says “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us,” I revert to the way I was taught 50-some years ago by saying, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”

This brings the mental image of my father’s grave marker there in Veterans Circle where he was laid to rest in a dusty little town in northeastern Colorado. This vision usually brings with it the normal curiosity in wondering how different my life might be had he not passed when I was so young, and a sense of wonder at the kind of lasting impact his faith, commitment and actions would have on an 8-year-old boy.

My father made sure that our family attended services and Sunday school each and every week. I remember asking him once why we had to go to Sunday school in the summer time because regular school was out. This is from where I learned not only the Lord’s Prayer, but how to behave in church, the Ten Commandments, the meaning of sacrifice and resurrection, that Christmas wasn’t about Santa Claus, doing the right thing is not up for debate, and how to tie a necktie.

After worshiping in many different churches over the years—and some years not at all—I have been worshiping our Lord at a Catholic church for more than 25 years and have managed to help raise three pretty decent children, two of whom share the Catholic faith and the other who loves Christ (in another Christian tradition). I find it a blessing to be able to work on various things around the church, support our Samaritan Food Pantry, the Samaritan pancake breakfast and even serve on a long-range planning committee at our parish.

The gift my father gave me is the gift of faith. Faith in myself, faith in community and faith in God. The kind of faith that makes it possible for me to see God’s work in my surroundings, marvel at his wisdom and give sincerest thanks for all that he has blessed me with.

As I sit in a silent church during eucharistic adoration having a personal and intimate conversation with Jesus, I so deeply appreciate having a good, close and growing relationship with the Lord and cannot imagine a more profound and positive impact that a man can have on his children than to teach them about God.

I can only pray that I have made some kind of positive impact somewhere in the lives of my own children, and hope that they might in turn share this gift with generations to come.

If the world is ever going to be a better place, it is from my father’s kind of insight and guidance that it will come.

(Harold Weber is a member of St. Joseph University Parish in Terre Haute.)

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