July 14, 2019Download the Bulletin as a PDF
"May you see your children’s children! Peace be upon Israel!" Psalm 128,6
But what good would it be to see grandchildren who are “useless… ungodly” (Sirach 16,1), “undisciplined… shameful [or] impudent” (Sirach 22,3-5)?
The question, “What does my grandfather want me to do?” probably does not cross our minds frequently. In fact, I suspect it happens more often than we like to admit that parents actively shield their children from their own parents, whether they are perceived to be irrationally overbearing or positively irreligious. But imagine the cultural consequences of successive generations being sequestered from their ancestors. That spells the end of culture.
Sacred Scripture depicts a very different dynamic. We see a lofty role for patriarchs and matriarchs who are virtuous, wise and respectful of the parental duties of their adult children. Consider the examples on display in the Book of Tobit:
[Raguel] said also to his daughter [Sarah], “Honor your father-in-law and your mother-in-law; they are now your parents. Let me hear a good report of you.” And he kissed her. And Edna said to Tobias, “The Lord of heaven bring you back safely, dear brother, and grant me to see your children by my daughter Sarah, that I may rejoice before the Lord. See, I am entrusting my daughter to you; do nothing to grieve her.” And Edna said to Tobias, “The Lord of heaven bring you back safely, dear brother, and grant me to see your children by my daughter Sarah, that I may rejoice before the Lord. See, I am entrusting my daughter to you; do nothing to grieve her.”
The healing of intergenerational wounds is a topic worthy of more than a paragraph. For now I encourage you to seek out the wisdom of your grandparents, to promote the role of your parents in the lives of your children, and to embrace the beautiful vocation of grandparenthood.
Grandfathers and grandmothers cannot avoid the suffering of relative solitude. As we grow in prayer we can turn loneliness into fruitfulness. As the Lord imparts His Wisdom to us we recognize the preferability of having our counsel sought rather than volunteering our advice. As I write this, it occurs to me that aging priests and retired pastors tread a similar path. Hmmm.
May God bless our parents and our parents’ parents!
Fr. Christopher J. Pollard
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Heb 13,8)