Father's Day, Anniversaries, and a Big Oak Tree
As you all know this Sunday is Father's Day and this year it coincides with Our 29th wedding anniversary! This "alignment of the stars" presents the perfect opportunity to write the blog that I have been mulling over for some time. I really can't do this topic justice in one post so I will revisit the topic again. Thank goodness Mark doesn't read my blog or I couldn't write this one. Don't tell him!
I think the moment when I fell deeply "head over heals" for Mark Findley was the summer we were both counselors at a camp for people with disabilities. Mark had worked at this camp for several summers already and was familiar with many of the campers. He and I had been assigned to take a group of campers on a nature hike and since I was the "newbie" he led the way. The first stop was a large oak tree with many good sturdy branches. Perfect for climbing, I thought. Then, without any warning, Mark began scooping up the campers from their wheel chairs and hoisting them into the branches! I was shocked. I stood there dumbfounded as one by one these campers, wedged into the branches of the sprawling tree, smiled and laughed with joy. Then Mark, all smiles himself, flipped himself onto a branch and said "Most of these kids have hardly touched a tree let alone been in one before coming to camp. They love it up here!" The delight in Mark's eyes watching these campers experience such a simple pleasure triggered in me a deep love for this man who finds his joy in others happiness. On June 16, 1984, I would be blessed to marry Mark Findley, who always puts the needs of others before his own.
Not only has Mark been a blessing for me but for all our children. Often I am asked "How do you raise 11 children?!" My simple answer; "I married Mark Findley." People who know my husband are all now nodding vigorously! That "deepening of love" I first felt at the large oak tree would happen again and again as I witness my husbands humor, sacrificial love and steadfast devotion poured out onto OUR children with quiet humility. Of course this kind of selfless love can not be contained, so it overflows onto everyone Mark meets. Yet, I don't want you to think that Mark is this way by some lucky accident. Mark has made a habit of daily sacrifices for others, daily mass when ever possible, constant prayer and keeping his eyes on Jesus, Who is Love.
So this Father's Day, I would like to honor my husband and St. Joseph, (his favorite saint, whom he turns to so often) by sharing a favorite prayer. (We can pray this prayer in our sleep we have prayed it so often!)
Novena in Honor of Saint Joseph
March 19 and May 1
Saint Joseph, you are the faithful protector and intercessor of all who love and venerate you. I have special confidence in you. You are powerful with God and will never abandon your faithful servants. I humbly invoke you and commend myself, with all who are dear to me, to your intercession. By the love you have for Jesus and Mary, do not abandon me during life, and assist me at the hour of my death.
Glorious Saint Joseph, spouse of the immaculate Virgin, Foster-father of Jesus Christ, obtain for me a pure, humble, and charitable mind, and perfect resignation to the Divine Will. Be my guide, my father, and my model through life that I may merit to die as you did in the arms of Jesus and Mary.
Loving Saint Joseph, faithful follower of Jesus Christ, I raise my heart to you to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining from the Heart of Jesus all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare, particularly the grace of a happy death, and the special grace I now implore: (Mention your request). Guardian of the Word Incarnate, I am confident that your prayers on my behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God.
Peace and joy,