Last month, my wedding-photographer daughter Teresa scheduled a date and time for a family picture. After working with everyone to accommodate their schedules, she sent a text that provided directions on how to get to the area of Bradley Park where we were going to meet for the picture. The time that she scheduled was immediately after an 11:00 AM Sunday Mass at St. Philomena Church.
My wife and I have seven adult children, five of whom are married. We currently have 19 grandchildren, with two more on the way. It’s not easy to get everyone together at the same time for a family picture, but Teresa was able to work out everything.
At around 7:00 AM on the morning that the picture was scheduled, I checked the internet for the local weather report and learned that there was a forecast for rain at the time that we were scheduled to meet. At 8:50 AM, a text was sent by one of the members of our family to everyone that said, “Good morning! What’s our rain plan?”
I responded with the following text message:
The weather forecast for the area says showers and thunderstorms mainly before 1 PM. I would say that we should pray that the weather clears and plan on showing up. If we have the faith that our prayers will be answered, then the sun will come out.
Teresa responded by “Liking” my text. My son-in-law, Joe Gorman, texted a picture of a guy in a yellow raincoat, and said, “New matching outfits. Who’s in?” My daughter Maria responded, “We’re in! Just ordered for our family and chose the 1-hr delivery option on Amazon… it was only an additional $299 per outfit for that option.”
No one bothered to challenge me on my assertion that if we prayed and had faith, we wouldn’t have to worry about any rain.
After Mass, all of us headed over to Bradley Park. On the way to the park, it was cloudy and there was enough drizzling rain to require us to use the intermittent windshield-wiper feature on our vehicles.
By the time we arrived at the park, the rain had stopped but it was still very cloudy. I was tempted to grab an umbrella from my car before walking the two blocks that it took to get to the area where Theresa wanted to take our pictures, but I resisted the temptation. I didn’t want any of my children or grandchildren to think there was any doubt in my mind about the sun coming out.
When all of us arrived at the area where the pictures were going to be taken, it was still very cloudy, and it looked as though it was going to rain at any moment. It took Teresa about 15 minutes to set everything up, and then she began organizing our large family for the first set of pictures.
After Teresa took several pictures of our family, something amazing happened. The sun peeked through the clouds. Then the clouds behaved as though they were ordered to move aside, which is exactly what they did. The sun then shined in all its glory and lit up the field and the trees that surrounded us.
After Theresa finished with our family, she began taking pictures of each of our children’s individual families. While that was going on, the children that were not being photographed ran around and played in a nearby field.
When Theresa was gathering her equipment, the sky became cloudy, and the sun disappeared again behind the clouds. As we were walking to our cars, the sky became cloudier and darker. As we pulled out of the parking lot, it started raining. It wasn’t a thunderstorm, but it was raining hard enough to require us to use our windshield wipers, without the intermittent-pause feature.
I could tell you several stories from over the past 40 years when I boldly “predicted” that it would not rain until we were finished with what we were doing. My predictions did not come from arrogance or pride. They came from my faith that God would answer our prayers and ease any anxiety that we had concerning the weather.
A good definition of “faith” is, “a firm strong belief in something for which there is no proof.”
The foundation for my faith began with the strong faith environment that was provided to me by my parents, grandparents, extended family, and the Catholic teachers and priests who influenced me during my grade school years. I was fortunate because my childhood occurred during what I consider the golden years of the United States of America, when the majority of our population still believed in and practiced the Judeo-Christian values that our country was founded upon.
I feel sorry for many of the people who were born after the sexual revolution and the abandonment of Judeo-Christian values that began occurring during the 1960s and accelerated during the 1970s. A large share of those people are living their lives with no real connection to their Creator. They lack the faith that is required to lead lives of virtue and contentment.
It is my firm belief that most of the emotional and psychological problems that people have in our society today are directly related to their lack of belief and faith in God. While our so-called leaders and people of influence all seem to think they have the solutions to mass killings, increasing suicides, deaths from opiates and other drugs, and the ever-increasing numbers of mentally unstable people who seem to be everywhere, the ONE solution — belief and faith in God — is completely missing from the way they live their lives and their formula for coming up with solutions to problems.
More on this topic next week.