As the Christmas season came to an end, I was left the final task of packing all the Christmas decorations away. In addition to my rooms at the seminary, I also continue to put up some of the Christmas decorations that my parents used when they were alive. In order to do so, I temporarily remove a number of photos from the top of some cabinets, photos that my mother cherished, some of which date back to a trip to Venice which my parents took with my sister and me in 1966. I consider those pictures to be priceless heirlooms of my family’s history.
This year, as I returned them to their places, I noticed one photo in particular. It depicts my sister and I standing in front of my mother and father, with my mother smiling at my sister and me (we were probably 6 and 2 years old respectively) while my father was kissing my mother. My mother’s smile and my father’s kiss spoke a powerful message, conveying the great affection and joy that they felt, in part because their children were on track to enjoy a better life than they did as children in the poverty of southern Italy.
I have been reflecting upon that picture for the last two weeks. For me it is a symbol of what “standing by our children” really means. In part, it conveyed a feeling from my parents of protection, affection, encouragement, joy and satisfaction that their children would be OK. Perhaps in many ways, that one photo summarized what my parents valued the most and worked for during their entire married life.
There are far too many children who do not enjoy such protection, affection, encouragement and joy in their lives for many reasons. Yet each of them, regardless of their earthly parents, are children of our Heavenly Father. As a community of believers, should we not recommit ourselves, in these troubled times, to do whatever we can to stand by every child in our midst, to ensure that they also will be ok?
The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos! Do not miss Bishop Frank’s latest video: What Does it Mean to Stand with Christ?