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An Extraordinary Gift From My Heavenly Father

My dad died when I was fifteen months old. My brother Dave was seven and my brother Tom, who is now in heaven, was only five. As I was so young when dad died, I have no memories whatsoever of him. Dave has very few and we have spoken of those often, and Tom had a few as well. I have gathered a few more memories from older cousins, but it’s not the same as having my own. The loss of dad created a deep longing in my heart, a hunger to know him, that remains today. God has placed other men in my life, most especially my husband, who have shown me what a dad’s love must be like, but it’s not the same.

As I am writing this on Father’s Day, I have been reflecting on this for the past few weeks. Not only have I been reflecting on my own dad and those men who have modeled fatherhood for me, but I also have been reflecting often on my Heavenly Father. During these reflections, the word “creator” stands out in my thoughts. Creator – one who brings forth something out of nothing. This is very different from an artist who creates with already existing mediums. My dad and mom were co-creators with Almighty God in my creation. It was a trinitarian effort. I love thinking about that. Much like the action of the Blessed Trinity which is constantly creating in love, my parents in their love for each other, along with the mighty action of God, created me out of nothing. Astounding. This is where my longing to know dad originated, right at my conception. It’s a very strong urging, soul deep within me, and it has remained with me my entire life.

This is the longing I have as well to know my Heavenly Father. I want to know Him intimately and to understand His love for me. In order to do this, I have started to be more deliberate in my daily life. To slow down and think of Him often. To process what is before me keeping in mind the presence of God. To evaluate the things of this world in light of my eternal destination with Him. To contemplate what being in His presence for all of eternity will be like. To work toward storing up “treasures in heaven” and not stuff that is earthly. To simplify my efforts, and to work towards living a life of charity and loving others as I know God the Father and my dad love me.

I also have been meditating on the beauty of the priesthood and those men who have sacrificed their lives to minister to me over my lifetime as spiritual fathers. The impact they have made on my life and soul is enormous for they have brought me the sacraments and most especially The Eucharist – Christ Himself in the flesh. In my studies I have recently come across the concept of the sacrificial aspect of the priest during the Sacrament of Reconciliation. When I confess my sins to the priest he takes those sins upon himself in persona Christi. He then, in a spiritual way, carries my sins to the altar, much like Christ carried His cross to Calvary all the while carrying the sins of the world. Then, during mass when he is making the offering of bread and wine to God, my sins are included in that moment. The priest, in the person of Christ on the cross, offers himself along with all to Almighty God. It is truly a re-presentation of Christ’s offering on Calvary. What love and what an offering of self. Well, it just took my breath away.

God satisfies our longings completely in heaven and allows the partial healing of some of our woundedness from that longing while we are here on earth as well. In His infinite love for me and my brother, He saw fit to give us an unexpected and wonderful gift in December of 2019. Through a shirt-tail cousin and a connection with Facebook, I was contacted and sent a plethora of information about my dad’s military service. The information proved that my dad had served in an elite company of World War II soldiers called the First Special Service Force (FSSF) which was the precursor to the Green Berets of today. My dad’s unit was responsible for the victories of major campaigns in the war and was awarded the Medal of Honor at a special ceremony in Washington D. C. in 2013. No one in my family knew of this for my dad never spoke openly of his time in the service upon his return from the war. With that information God gave my brother and myself an entire chapter in the life of the dad we never really knew. Our longing to know some part of dad was satisfied beyond our wildest dreams. We are planning a special Military Honors Ceremony this August at his gravesite back home in Kickapoo, IL, and both sides of our family will be in attendance. It will be a great celebration of his life and his service to our country. Words just can’t express the emotion my brother and I are feeling by this extraordinary gift that we have been given.

Let us never underestimate the value of our fathers and all that they do for us out of love. Our Heavenly Father, our earthly father, or our spiritual fathers. Take the time to know them all. God wants us to live in love and intimacy with all three. This is the love that truly satisfies the deepest longings of our hearts.

Karen Baglieri Copyright 2021
Member of the Sisterhood of the Mystical Rose of God

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