Will these be useful to you? I don’t know.
Nevertheless, below are some activities my family did on Sunday:
Five decades of the Rosary, with our children leading.
I read the Gospel, since we cannot currently attend Mass due to the Coronavirus situation in Los Angeles. Here is how the Saint Isaac Jogues Illuminated Lectionary prints the Gospel from Laetare Sunday, Year C:
* PDF Download • Gospel from 4th Sunday of Lent
—To understand why Year C was chosen, see below.
Father Valentine Young, OFM, died a few months ago. But we still have his Homily that he gave on 31 March 2019. Therefore, I read the Homily:
Homily by Fr. Valentine Young, OFM (31 March 2019)
Introduction: Probably most, if not all of us can relate to this parable of the prodigal son. For a part of my life I have to admit that I did not really know the meaning of the word ‘prodigal.’ I finally looked it up and found out it means to be extravagantly wasteful. I guess I had somewhat surmised this from the context of the story. But more to the point: Most of us probably know or even have some relative or someone close to them who no longer practices their Catholic Faith. People frequently ask me what they should do in such circumstances.
The answer: I will start off by saying that I don’t have any ready-made or guaranteed answer. What I am going to say will be suggestions at best.
Example of the Father: First we have the example of the father himself. Now the story doesn’t really tell us what he did after his son left. The father didn’t seem to put up much of an argument when the son told the father that he wanted his half of the inheritance. I don’t think the father was so naïve that he thought his son was going to go out and work among the poor. The father probably figured that if his son had to learn in the school of hard knocks, then so be it.
Prayer: Jesus doesn’t say anything in this story or parable about the father praying for his son while the son was away squandering his inheritance. As a good Jew, the father would have been acquainted with the one hundred and fifty psalms, or at least some of them. Many of them contain prayers for forgiveness of sin, and can easily be prayed for oneself or for others. (I’ll admit I am only editorializing when I made these last remarks.)
The only sure thing: But in reality the only sure or certain thing that we can do for such persons is to pray for them. Believe me, I’m not saying this as a ‘cop out.’ I’m saying this because I know and believe it is true. And I’ll repeat a little incident I remember from my own mother. One of my brothers was out of the Church for years. My mother was asked once—and I happened to hear this conversation—“Do you worry about your son?” Without hesitation, she answered: “No. I don’t worry about him. I just pray for him.” I cannot think of better advice to give.
What not to do: The first thing is to be careful of what you say. Don’t be too aggressive. And if you are in doubt about saying something, it will probably be best not to say it. Early in my life I had two (2) bad experiences in taking the initiative: one with my brother, and another with an aunt who was a fallen away Catholic. Both back-fired and did absolutely no good. My mother’s prayers brought my brother back to the Church before he died. God will answer our prayers when and how he sees fit.
The Father: The father of this son had the joy of seeing his son return. I would like to think the father lived his life as normally as possible while the son was gone. And the father did not blame himself for what the son had done. Nor did the father ‘rub it in’ when the son returned. Those are also things we should remember. We can pray for those who may have gone astray, but we don’t have to lose our own peace of mind and happiness because of what they have done or are doing. God does not will that. And we are here on this earth to do the will of God.
Then, we watched this—which fit perfectly with the “Prodigal Son” theme:
[YouTube: Bishop Fulton J. Sheen speaks about Blessed Charles de Foucauld]
Finally, I recalled the prayer of Blessed Charles de Foucauld, shared with us by Fr. Robert Skeris:
I abandon myself
into Your hands:
do with me what You will.
Whatever You may do,
I thank You;
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only Your will be done in me,
and in all Your creatures—
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into Your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to You
With all the love of my heart,
for I love You Lord, and so need to
give myself, to surrender myself
into Your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for You are my Father.
In one of his articles, Dr. Lucas Tappan reminded us that families can be called a “domestic church.”