By JOE CONBOY, Special Contributor | Published marzo 2, 2006 | Available In English
About 115 fathers of present and former students of St. Pius X High School participated in the 15th Annual Dads Day of Recollection on Saturday, Jan. 21. The event, which included talks, discussions, Mass, lunch and the sacrament of reconciliation, was sponsored by the St. Pius Home and School Association. Attendees heard Msgr. Richard Lopez, a religion teacher at the high school for the past 24 years, talk of the temptations that fathers face in the context of the temptations of Christ.
During the Mass at the beginning of the day, Msgr. Lopez reminded the dads that everyone has fallen and that Satan wants people to forget God. He suggested one way to keep God present in their lives was to use the “prayer of simple regard.” In this prayer, few words are used. In a quiet place, the person praying turns his or her attention to God and expresses a few spontaneous words but uses mostly silence, just enjoying God’s presence. “You look at Him, and He looks at you.”
Msgr. Lopez reminded the fathers that their kids see through them to God, so it is important to avoid temptation. He shared that “it is when we are weak, we are strong.” When people know that they need God, they do their best to walk with God. The temptations of the devil are to tempt people to do it on their own. He told the fathers attending that they “should remember when it comes to fighting evil that we are in enemy-occupied territory” and quoted popular author J. R. R. Tolkien, “The world is one long defeat, then God wins.”
Msgr. Lopez shared two tips to help in resisting temptation: Do the opposite of what you are tempted to do and say the name of Jesus to yourself.”
“Satan is the accuser,” Msgr. Lopez told the group. Satan finds his power by leading people to dwell on past failures. The priest used this to remind attendees of the significance of making a sacrament of reconciliation, which was offered at the end of the day, for it is through this sacrament that they can send Satan away. Through reconciliation we are assured of God’s forgiveness, said Msgr. Lopez. He also asked, “What’s greater in life, the power of God or the power of mistakes?” Satan wants to bring up thoughts of where we have been wronged, he said, and to dwell on the pain and resentment we have felt. Satan wants to devalue the present.
Msgr. Lopez reminded the fathers present that believers love God, not the way He can help them.
As in the previous events, the fathers attending this popular event spent time discussing thought-provoking questions about how to work to stay close to God and resist temptation.