Celebrate the feast of the Chair of St. Peter Feb.22 with Baked Rock of the Church Rockfish and teach your kids about the pope!
by Ryan Langr
It’s not easy being a parent, and being a stay-at-home dad has given me a new perspective about what it must be like to be the pope. My almost 3-year-old daughter has a love-hate relationship
with rules. On the one hand, her constant bombardment of emotions and desires makes it difficult to forgo or delay her immediate wants. On the other hand, I think we’ve finally established, and she realizes, that mommy and daddy make rules to keep her safe, happy and able to have fun. She knows that we make rules because we love her, and when everything is calm, she’s grateful for that. She knows this, but its hard for her to accept that fact in the moment.
Before I was a parent, I thought rules would be easy to enforce (doesn’t every pre-parent think that?). Now sometimes it hurts me to say “no” more than it hurts her to hear it. I think most parents can identify with being so worn down that they just want to give in — after all, can one more cookie really be that bad for her? Loving your children with rules and boundaries is hard, and it can sometimes lead to a strained relationship with your children. But with a foundation of love, we reconcile.
I imagine this is a lot like what the pope feels. He must know the rules of the Church are sometimes unpopular, especially when people feel they are unfair, outdated (insert other adjectives here). I’m sure that breaks his heart, because he wants what is best for his children. This sort of empathy, putting myself in the pope’s shoes, helps me when I have problems with the Church. I encourage my daughter to ask why we have the rules, to discuss them with us, but still follow them because I love her and she loves me. I realize now that the pope is probably the same — he guards the Church’s “rules” because he loves us. He encourages us to question, because by questioning we grow, but ultimately we should follow those rules because we love God, the Church and the pope. Imagine what Peter felt like — the new Church probably was like caring for a newborn and a teenager at the same time!
I hope that my love for my daughter will translate in her love for the Church as she grows. She will have issues with the Church just as she has issues with me. I welcome them, and I will try to be a model of humble servitude both as a parent to her and a child of God.
O blessed St Peter, head and chief of the Apostles, thou art the guardian of the keys of the heavenly kingdom, and against thee the powers of hell do not prevail; thou art the rock of the Church and the shepherd of Christ’s flock; thou art great in power, wonderful in thy heavenly bliss; thou hast the right of binding and loosing in heaven and on earth.
The sea supported thy footsteps, the sick upon whom even thy shadow fell were cured of their ills. By the memory of that right hand which supported thee on the waves of the sea, lift me from the ocean of my sins, and by those tears which thou didst shed for thy Lord, break the bonds of my offences and free me from the hand of all my adversaries. Help even me, O good shepherd, that I may in this life serve Christ Jesus and thee, that with thy help, after the close of a good life, I may deserve to attain the reward of eternal happiness in heaven, where thou art unto endless ages the guardian of the gates and the shepherd of the flock.