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Thursday, December 23, 2004

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St. John of Kanty

Malachi 3:1-4, 23-24
Psalm 25
Luke 1:57-66

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fathers, have a heart

"Turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with doom." —Malachi 3:24

In our present culture of death, it is almost miraculous for the hearts of fathers to be turned to their children. It's no wonder there is much gloom and "doom" (Mal 3:24) and hopelessness in a culture in which so many fathers turn away from their children.

In our society, there is rampant fornication, adultery, and "shacking up" outside of wedlock. Many men have fathered children through these sins without realizing it. In fact, it's likely they prefer not to know if they did father a child. Their hearts are not turned toward their children. If they became aware of a pregnancy, many men have then encouraged or even pressured the mother to abort the child. Such a father's heart is certainly not turned toward his child. If the child survives the womb, many fathers turn their back on these living children through neglect, non-support, or other abuse.

Even within the context of marriage, fathers regularly turn their backs on their children in many ways. Whenever fathers turn their hearts away from their children, disaster is not far away.  What if Joseph's fatherly heart was not turned toward the Child Jesus? Where would we be today — and eternally?

Fathers, ask the Lord to give you a new and greater heart for your children (see Ez 36:26). The best Christmas present you can give your children is your heart of love for them.

Prayer:  Father, may fathers love their children and include them in all they do (see Jn 5:20).

Promise:  "All who heard stored these things up in their hearts, saying, 'What will this child be?' " —Lk 1:66

Praise:  "O Emmanuel, King and Lawgiver, Desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God."

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Richard Walling, July 7, 2004

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 19, 2004