Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Themes: Father's Day, Cost of Discipleship
Volume 7 No. 421 June 16, 2017
III. Featured Articles: Father's Day

Fathers Matter

by Meg Meeker, M.D.

It's no wonder that many of you feel badly about the role you play as fathers. I am sorry for this because women of my ilk have brought this on you. We women who grew up in the 1970s decided to not only compete with you, but also tried to beat you in all aspects of life. If you watch television, you are likely to believe that women won. Messages from Hollywood tell you that dads are no longer needed for anything really. We mothers run our households, earn money to pay bills, and raise good children; and since we are good at everything, we simply only need one thing from you - your chromosomes. We don't need you to father our children, we just need you to help us get the whole pregnancy thing going, and then we're on our way. We are fine and our children will be also.

This mentality found its roots in the later part of the 20th century, and sadly, it is still gaining steam. That's why I write to you today. We, friends, can reverse this mentality, and I really don't think that it will take as much money or energy as we think because Truth lies within each of us. And that Truth says: fathers matter. We at Family Talk are committed to standing against the forces that tell lies to parents and children that fathers are less important than mothers. I know that people respond positively and enthusiastically when we simply state truths about fathers because I have seen it. I have personally seen the swell of gratitude and excitement that erupts in men from all backgrounds when they are told who they are in their children's eyes. I have received hundreds of letters from men around the world who have told me after reading my book that they "never knew" they were so important to their children. Declaring the simple truths regarding who fathers are to a nation in moral chaos is a breath of fresh air. (To most people, that is. Many women have dubbed me anti-woman for being pro-dad.)

During this month when we celebrate dads, I want to take the opportunity to share truth with every father. Think of this: God calls Himself Father. He doesn't call Himself Mother. Therefore, you dads have honor bestowed upon you the moment your child is conceived. Honor - the real thing. You share a name with God. Indulge me if you will to share a passage from my book, Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters. This is not meant to be self-serving; rather I want every parent to know how desperately our children need their fathers. Then, we can be more effective in our support of them. Fathers must embrace the greatness of their roles, and we women must change the way we speak to them. We mothers after all, are the ones who teach our children how to treat their dads. Below is a portion of a chapter called You are the Most Important Man in Her Life:

Your daughter takes cues from you, her father, on everything from drug use, drinking, delinquency, smoking and having sex to self-esteem, moodiness, and seeking attention from teen boys.

When you are with her, whether you eat dinner and do homework together or even when you are present but don't say much, the quality and stability of her life - and, you'll find your own - improves measurably. Even if you think that the two of you operate on different planes, even if you worry that time with her shows no measurable results, even if you doubt that you are having a meaningful impact on her, the clinical fact is that you are giving your daughter the greatest of gifts. And you're helping yourself, too - research shows that parenting may increase a man's emotional growth and increase his feelings of value and significance.

Your daughter will view this time spent with you vastly differently than you do. Over the years, in erratic bursts and in simple ordinary life together, she will absorb your influence. She will watch every move you make. She might not understand why you are happy or angry, dishonest or affectionate, but you will be the most important man in her life, forever.

When she is twenty-five, she will mentally size up her boyfriend or husband against you. When she is thirty-five, the number of children she has will be affected by her life with you. The clothes she wears will reflect something about you. Even when she is seventy-five, how she faces her future will depend on some distant memory of time you spent together. Be it good or painful, the hours and years you spend with her - or don't spend with her - change who she is.

Four years ago my father passed into God's hands. He suffered from severe dementia. His disease broke my heart and his. When dementia was setting in, he would sit and cry for hours. He was a brilliant man who had done medical research and had his results published in numerous languages. More importantly, he was my dad. He loved his family with everything he had. And in spite of his faults, he did a tremendous job. No one showed him how to parent four children (his own parents were emotionally distant) but he did the best he could. And he did better than well enough.

Before his dementia began, I handed him Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters and said, "Dad, I want you to see something. I wrote a book about you." His eyes welled up with tears and he almost looked shocked. His face said, "Me? A good dad?"

I went on to tell him how he changed me. Many years earlier, as a senior in college, I applied to medical schools and got a rejection letter from every school. I thought my life was over. Since the age of 16, I lived and breathed thinking about medical school. I planned no back-up option. I was staying at my parents' home so I had the opportunity to talk with my mother about my disappointment. She comforted me and told me to try again. She made me good food and made me feel better.

I left one evening to go for a jog to clear my head. When I returned home, I went inside and heard my father talking to a friend on the phone in his study. This was odd, I thought, because my father was a quiet man and rarely talked on the phone. I decided to do what any nosy 21 year-old does, and I parked myself outside his study door and listened. I heard him say my name. I listened more carefully and then he said to his friend, "Yes, that's right. My daughter, Meg, will be going to medical school in the next year or two." His voice was firm and filled with resolve. I was stunned. What did he know that I didn't know? Had he made phone calls on my behalf or paid off someone at a medical school?

Of course, he hadn't. My father gave me a much greater gift. When I heard him state that I was going to medical school, I knew in that moment that I would go. As a young woman, I reasoned that if my father had that much confidence in me - in the face of the rejection letters - then I could do just about anything. Now, some 45 years later, I can still hear my father speaking that sentence because it changed who I became. But here's the fascinating part - my father never remembered having that conversation. In the course of living our everyday lives, words that expressed my father's beliefs changed the course of my life. And he didn't even try to do that.

You are a son or daughter so you know exactly what I am talking about. The words our fathers speak to us make us feel stronger or weaker. Their facial expressions make us feel either better or worse about ourselves. Our fathers teach us to love, to live with humility, and they show us the person of God. Or they don't. And if they don't, we feel lost - even as adults and our hearts hurt for a word of encouragement or kindness from them because no one can communicate truth on the level that our fathers can.

Friends, each of us still want more from our fathers. If he isn't alive or if we are estranged from a father, our need doesn't change - how we handle disappointment does. We have learned that what our earthly fathers can't (or couldn't) give, God our Father does. But the fact remains that what our natural fathers do or don't give makes us the people that we are.

We are living with a nation of children who will be different men and women because their fathers never knew the truth about who they are to their children. We must change that, and we can. This month, find a father and compliment him on a good character quality he displays. If you are a mother, resolve to speak more respectfully to and about your children's father. Every father deserves more respect - even if he has made horrific mistakes because, after all, he is not a moron who hogs the channel changer, as his children are told; he is a child of God who died to make him whole.

Happy Father's Day to each of you dads.

About The Author:

Meg Meeker, M.D. is Co-Host of 'Family Talk' and Physician in Residence

Copyright, 2015 Family Talk. All Rights Reserved.


by Nitya Jacob, Columbus, Ohio

Nitya with her dad Dr. Jaob Naduparambil
Nitya with her dad Prof. Dr. Jacob Naduparambil

Editor's Note: A poem written to honor Prof. Dr. Jacob Naduparambil, esteemed Cancer Researcher at Ohio State University, on this Father's Day by his daughter Nitya Jacob. Nitya has written this on a very short notice (less than a day).

The first Father taught all fathers
to be the one that guides and protects all who fall within his care.
Adopted or biological, it doesn't matter.
We are all sisters and brothers, anyway,
and love has no boundaries.
Fathers teach you that.

When you are angry or sad,
fathers will try to help you.
It may be awkward or bad, but
nothing says love more
than constantly checking in on a moody teenager after being huffed at
for the umpteenth time,
and dropping you off where you need to go despite
the loads of work waiting for them at home,
and trying to make you laugh when you feel like you can't, and still
holding your hand whenever you walk together.

Too often have we pulled our hand away.
How hard it must be to have this creature who you
have nurtured when they were half a foot tall to where they
now reach- or pass- the height of your eyes-
to have that child that you held in your palms like a miracle, look
away and scowl and be angry at you
and then still try to be loving and forgiving.
It baffles me.
Because that, truly, is love.

Everyone loves because of the One who first loved us
with immeasurable, immense love.
Fathers adopt this role and instill this knowledge in us.
They make us remember that they do everything in order to
keep up safe and will
love us no matter what we do.
Like the prodigal son and his father,
every day they throw feasts despite our downfalls.

Fathers give us a steady love that does not end.
They shape us and mold us and raise us to use our hearts,
fully and wisely.
They hold our hands and guide the way
and make the way brighter and more beautiful.

We would not be the same without fathers.
Not every man who bears a child is a father, but the ones
who faithfully and gratefully take on the role-
they are the fathers to the end.

To the fathers who lost their children,
and the fathers who lost their own,
and the fathers that are the sole provider and is
used to doing it alone.
To the fathers who have lost everything they had,
and those who never had anything except themselves to begin with,
who are far away,
who are lost,
who are still healing,
and all the fathers still learning,

Thank you.

We are soldiers and we are filled with love
all because of the care you have provided us from the
Father we all have that provided it to you.

Thank you and God bless you.
You have taken on one of the hardest roles of all.
Because of your success, we can succeed.

About The Author:

Nitya is a very talented young lady. She is a member of St. Basil's Syriac Orthodox Church, Cleveland, Ohio as well as Ponpally Church in Kottayam. Nitya has just graduated from High School and will be joining Ohio State University in this Fall.

My Daddy - A Bed Time Story

by Steve Newton

The little girl was often on the receiving end of jokes from her classmates, for among other things, she was very poor. In addition no one had seen her father in a long time and many blamed him for the dismal conditions the little girl lived in.

Their "home" was a small dingy travel trailer parked on a rented lot near the outskirts of town, after having lost their real home when her father disappeared.

Her mother worked as a waitress during the day and by the time she got home she was often too tired to move, her feet swollen. But she always made sure the little girl had food on the table and a place to study. Every Sunday she made sure her daughter was dressed in what passed for her "Sunday best" so she could catch the van to Church.

Even at Church she was not so much taunted as shunned. She sat by herself with a worn Bible in her lap that her father had given her so long ago and stared at the floor. But she loved to sing, her favorite song was "Jesus Loves Me."

A special day for her arrived because she had been making plans for "father's day" at school for a long time. Her mother had tried to get her to skip a day but the little girl would have none of it. "I'm still proud of my daddy even though he left me," she said.

She sat and listened to the other children and as they introduced their fathers a small tear formed in her eye. But she was determined not to show how much she hurt. And she had spent a long time hiding how she really felt about anything.

When her time came, she slowly shuffled up to the little lectern and gently placed a well worn letter atop it.

From the back of the room she heard someone ask where her daddy was, while another said she probably didn't have one. She heard a grown up mutter, "dead beat dad."

Her eyes well up with tears and she could barely see the letter in front of her. She simply froze.

She heard the door open and when she looked up she saw a stranger, but he was dressed like her daddy. And this man was huge with so many sparkles on his chest it almost blinded her.

He slowly walked over and stood next to her and then in a voice that sounded like cement in a mixer he started to speak:

"I stand with this lovely little girl today as her surrogate father. Her bravery, in the presence of such adversity would have made her dad very proud. And I'm afraid he would also have been very angry with you all."

"Let me tell you a story about this girl's father: I don't know what you have been told or what you have "surmised" in your little minds, but her daddy was a Soldier and a very good one. He was also a good father."

"He was one of my squad leaders and he, uh, went to Heaven protecting his men. For this he received the Silver Star and rests now at a place called Arlington."

"And he loved his little girl more than life itself."

The old sergeant picked up the letter from the lectern.

"Sweetheart: You know that daddy misses you with all his might. I pray for you too every night! And like you and I spoke of before I left, we are never really alone for we carry each other in our hearts. And God watches over us all as He wills. Be happy precious cause I will be home soon." He lay the letter back down.

"He wrote this the night before he went to be with Jesus."

Pappy looked down at the little girl and anger swelled up inside of him.

"This little girl's father gave his last full measure to this country so that you could go to school, work and have happy families. But I come here and see where his family lives now and I have heard the stories. Instead of lending a hand you make snide remarks and feel superior. You make me ashamed."

Pappy reached down and picked up the little girl in his massive arms and she clung to him, her hands going around his neck.

"This precious little girl, this—beautiful little spirit, is dressed in rags because of a foul up with the government over insurance paper work—and because of your neglect. You can rest assured she will no longer be poor."

As he carried the little girl to the door he stopped and looked back at them all:

"She won't be poor, if she ever was, but I'm very much afraid that you always will be."

The door slammed shut behind him.

S J Newton The Old Sergeant is fictional This story was inspired by an internet poem called "Daddy's Poem." Author Leecy Madison.

Source: The silver Star Families of America © All rights reserved

Priests of the Domestic Church: A Father's Day Homily

by Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers

In the days before global positioning systems, Mapquest, and Google Earth, men were stereotyped as reluctant to ask for directions. You know the scene: a couple is driving somewhere and, unable to find their destination, the wife turns to her husband and says, "Honey, maybe we should stop and ask for directions." The husband, dismayed that his wife would dare challenge his sense of direction, stubbornly says, "I know where I'm going!" This would go on and on until they eventually found the place or fell so far behind schedule that they would have no choice but to stop at the nearest gas station for directions.

Thanks to modern technology, those days are gone forever! In this day and age it's virtually impossible to get lost. However, a GPS may be able to get you from Portland to Chicago; Mapquest may be able to get you to your favorite downtown restaurant; Google Earth may show you the best route from New York to Australia but no amount of technology in the world will get you from earth to heaven!

What Jesus says in the Gospel is true of many men today: we are "troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd." [1] When a man would rather spend time looking at pornography or "hanging out with the fellas" than have any meaningful relationship with his wife and children, he is lost. When a man approaches dating as a conquest, where the primary goal is to "hit it and quit it," he is lost. When a man becomes wealthy at the expense of the poor, he is lost. When a man under the influence of drugs or alcohol beats his wife, passing on a legacy of violence and abuse to his children, he is lost.

Just as Jesus called laborers into the field to reap an abundant harvest of souls, He calls husbands and fathers who are lost to use the navigational tools of prayer, forgiveness, and mercy to find our way back to our Father in heaven. Just as Jesus called men to the priesthood to serve His Bride the Church, the same Jesus calls men through baptism to be priests of the domestic church, the church of the home. A husband and father should exercise his priestly ministry through "the offering he makes of himself and his daily activities." [2] This offering should be united to Christ's offering in the Eucharist "for their work, prayers, and apostolic endeavors, their ordinary married and family life, their daily labor, their mental and physical relaxation, if carried on in the spirit--and even the hardships of life, if patiently borne--all of these become spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." [3] The main job of the priest is to offer sacrifice, and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass should lead fathers to intimate and personal relationship with God, uniting him so closely to Christ that the Eucharist becomes the very soul and center of his spiritual and family life.

The priest of the home must accept the responsibility of living "the Gospel in faith and proclaiming it in word and deed, without hesitating to identify and denounce evil." [4] Christian parents are the primary and indispensable catechists of their own children. Fathers are not only called to preach the Gospel but also, and above all, to live the Gospel by setting a good example for their children. If our children see us living the Catholic faith with fidelity and joy, then we can be sure that our example will be worth more than a thousand words and have confidence that our love for Christ will be written into the hearts of our sons and daughters. When we do this, the Catholic faith will become more than a fond memory that fades with time. A father's living witness to covenant intimacy will become his enduring legacy, a precious gift for his children, and a sure sign of hope in God's endless mercy and love.

Before any of this can happen, we fathers must have the courage to take the first big step: we must dethrone the reign of sin in our lives so that we can welcome Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives. Any man can be a daddy but it takes a real man to be a father, and the sooner we earthly fathers begin to appreciate the great gift we have been given and begin living the mission of service to our families--when we begin to make a gift of ourselves to our wives and children, and participate deeply and personally in the Fatherhood of God--the faster we will arrive at a civilization of love and a culture of life.

I remember the day my relationship with my father changed forever. When I informed him of my decision to join the Benedictines, not only was he disappointed; he was angry. What he said went something like this: "You're going to do what?!" He then reminded me: "You are the first person in the family to go to college. I spent all that money sending you to one of the best universities in the country. You studied economics and business, and instead of making something of yourself, you are going to waste your life in that monastery living with a bunch of men? What's wrong with you? What am I supposed to tell my friends?" I won't repeat what I said to him but on that day he became like Lazarus in the tomb; he became dead to me.

Many years later when my EWTN series debuted, my father received lots of phone calls: "Isn't that your son on TV?" My father, who as far as I knew, only set foot in a Catholic church on his wedding day, began watching my program. Then he began watching the Mass. Then he started watching reruns of Mother Angelica. Then he started praying. My father, a professional entertainer, decided to stop singing Caribbean music and started singing and recording Gospel music exclusively. Then, like Lazarus coming out of the tomb, he called me and we spoke for thirty-one minutes and twelve seconds, which is the longest conversation we've had in almost twenty years. He spent most of the call talking to me about his relationship with Jesus.

A few months ago, I was shown the awesome power of prayer, forgiveness, and divine mercy. After years of not having a meaningful relationship with the man who destroyed our family, I met face-to-face with my father. I did not hear the words of repentance that I so longed to hear from him. Instead, this talented and gifted musician who was lost and who only now after seventy-four years is coming to faith in Jesus Christ, showed me the meaning of fatherhood by his example when he sang this song:

"O Lord, sweet Jesus, have mercy on me.
My eyes were wide open, yet I failed to see.
Dear Lord, I beg you have mercy; please, have mercy on me.
I am so sorry. Lord, forgive me.
Please show me the way.
I can't go on living this life without you.
Sweet Jesus, please tell me what to do.
Lord, I'm depending on you.
I want to live a life that's honest and true.
I will let nothing stand in my way.
Sweet Jesus, please hear my prayer.
O Lord, teach me how to pray,
I beg you, because at times I know not what to say
but when I think of Calvary I know my Jesus loves me.
Dear Lord, I beg you have mercy."


[1] Matthew 9: 36.
[2] Christifideles Laici, n.14
[3] Lumen Gentium, n.31
[4] Christifideles Laici, n.14

Source: Ignatius

A Father's Love: The Story of Charles and Anne

by Dr. Samuel Gregg

In World War II, Charles de Gaulle saved France's honor from the shame of defeat. Few know, however, how much strength he drew from his Down Syndrome daughter.
Dr. Samuel Gregg

When it comes to failed governments in our time, it's hard to ignore French President François Hollande's administration. Hollande's record on basic issues like unemployment as well as his ineptness in the face of jihadist terrorism is so unimpressive that he declined to run for reelection. This, however, hasn't stopped his government from making the type of last-minute defiant gesture beloved of administrations whose days are numbered.

In Hollande's case, it has taken the form of effectively banning pro-life websites that don't explicitly identify themselves as pro-life. This follows a 2016 ruling by France's Conseil d'État endorsing a broadcasting tribunal's 2014 decision to prohibit a commercial portraying Down Syndrome children as joyful individuals loved by their parents because it might distress those who chose to terminate an unborn disabled child.

Reflecting upon these developments, I couldn't help thinking how much France owes to one particular Down Syndrome child: a young girl who struggled to speak, needed assistance to walk, and who died of pneumonia at the age of 20 cradled in her father's arms. Anne de Gaulle's father, however, was no ordinary man.

Charles de Gaulle was surely the twentieth century's greatest Frenchman. Yet for all his achievements, the ultimate drama of de Gaulle's life was his helpless daughter. What Anne gave to him, however, was immeasurable. As de Gaulle confided to a priest at the beginning of his lonely crusade in 1940 to save France's honor, “for me, this child is a grace, she is my joy, she helps me to look beyond all the failures and honors, and always to look higher.”

Un enfant pas comme les autres

Charles de Gaulle was an austere individual, one who consciously cultivated distance from others. 47 years after his death, however, we know much more about the private man. Thanks to the publication of memoirs, especially those of his son Admiral Philippe de Gaulle, the General emerges as a man who, like many French army officers of his background, found solace in his Catholic faith and a closely-knit family. We're also discovered that de Gaulle had a rich intellectual life which went far beyond politics. This went hand-in-hand with a wicked sense of humor which, in private, de Gaulle wasn't averse to using against himself.

By the time he reached his mid-30s, de Gaulle had settled into a milieu in which his faith, family and profession provided many of the certainties required for an ambitious man intent upon shaking up a political and military establishment committed to obsolete ideas. All this was shattered on 1 January 1928 when Charles and Yvonne de Gaulle's third child was born. Within a few months, it became apparent that Anne was severely disabled.

It's important to remember that this was an era in which disabled children were neither seen nor heard in polite company. Down Syndrome children were referred to as “mongols.” Some even speculated that the condition resulted from alcoholism or some form of impropriety on the parents' part. It wasn't until 30 years after Anne de Gaulle's birth that another devout French Catholic, Professor Jerome Lejeune, and his research team discovered that Down Syndrome was caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21.

In the 1930s, it was common for French families to place disabled children permanently in hospitals that were woefully ill-equipped to care them. Charles and Yvonne de Gaulle, however, refused to send Anne to live with, as he would say, “strangers.” In de Gaulle's words, “God has given her to us. We must take responsibility for her, wherever she is and whatever she will be.” In a way, de Gaulle's reaction to Anne's entry into his life foreshadowed the spirit of resistance expressed in his famous appeal of 18 June 1940 to Frenchmen to continue the war against Germany.

The de Gaulles worked hard to build a place for, to use de Gaulle's expression, “a child who is not like the others” in their family. From all accounts, Yvonne de Gaulle adopted a matter-of-fact approach. She focused on the practicalities of caring for a disabled child. Charles de Gaulle's contribution was to envelop Anne in a web of affection. According to his son, de Gaulle wanted to give Anne the assurance that he loved her just as much as her older brother and sister - that her disability meant nothing to him.

The tall army officer infamous for his air of haughty disdain as leader of Free France during World War II and later as French President didn't hesitate to unbend to play on the floor with Anne. De Gaulle sang to Anne, told her stories, and even allowed her to play with one of his most treasured possessions: his officer's kepi hat. De Gaulle also said prayers with Anne in the evening. Painstakingly, she would repeat each word after her father. “You see,” de Gaulle proudly informed his relatives, “she knows her prayers!”

When away on army business, de Gaulle constantly inquired about Anne's well-being. On one occasion, Anne had an operation while he was absent on maneuvers. De Gaulle telephoned incessantly to ask if she was in pain, whether the procedure had succeeded, what the doctors were saying, etc. Anne seems to have been aware of just how much she meant to her father. Her first governess recalled that Anne adored him and would be visibly upset when his responsibilities took de Gaulle away from his family.

Though the de Gaulles valued their privacy, they didn't view Anne as an embarrassment. There are pictures of her standing awkwardly with members of the de Gaulles' extended family. Most striking, however, is a photo of Anne taken at a beach in Brittany in 1933. She is sitting on her father's lap. He, dressed in a homburg hat and three-piece suit, gently holds her hands as the five year-old girl looks intensely into her father's eyes. It's an image of unconditional love.

While Anne lived, the de Gaulles took her everywhere with them. That included less-than-hospitable locations such as the French mandate in Syria and Lebanon. De Gaulle was posted there in 1929, partly because some of his superiors wanted to sideline an officer who asked awkward questions about France's readiness for the next war. There was, however, no question of leaving Anne behind. Instead she went with them, with the de Gaulles hiring a full-time governess to help them care for Anne in a Middle-Eastern country.

Fragility - and Resistance - in the face of Evil

There was, of course, a cost to all this. Though Charles de Gaulle came from a minor aristocratic family and his wife from an upper-middle class background, the de Gaulles were not wealthy. His modest army pay was their main source of income. Hiring full-time help was subsequently an enormous financial liability, but one they didn't hesitate to assume.

Then there was the psychological burden. As Yvonne de Gaulle's biographer Frédérique Neau-Dufour observes, Yvonne was an exuberant, even care-free young woman before Anne was born. After Anne's birth, that woman gradually disappeared. Yvonne became a much quieter, even somewhat withdrawn person who dreaded public appearances. This, however, didn't stop her from undertaking the extremely difficult task of successfully fleeing France with the profoundly disabled Anne in tow as the German Army swept across the country in May and June 1940.

This brings into focus another factor of which Charles de Gaulle was undoubtedly aware: how the National Socialist regime treated the disabled. Eugenics was part and parcel of the Nazi view of the world (and most Western liberal opinion for decades). And, as the Nazis made clear right from the beginning, the disabled had no place in a National Socialist world. They were lebensunwertes leben (life unworthy of life).

Starting in September 1939, the Nazi government began removing Down Syndrome children and infants suffering from other disabilities from their parents. These children were taken to “health facilities” and killed by lethal injection or gas poisoning. In the name of “racial health” and other eugenics nonsense, the regime murdered thousands of disabled children. Among them was a 15 year-old Down Syndrome cousin of the future pope, Joseph Ratzinger.

This would have been Anne de Gaulle's fate if she had ever fallen into Nazi hands. Although de Gaulle never referenced it specifically, it's likely that the brutal treatment of the disabled was one of the things he had in mind when referring to the evil of the Nazi regime. When de Gaulle refused to surrender in 1940 and was branded a traitor by France's political and military elites, it was certainly the act of an intensely patriotic man unwilling to accept his country's abasement by the Nazis. But de Gaulle's act of resistance also concerned safeguarding his defenseless daughter from those who viewed her as sub-human.

Life after Death

Like many Down Syndrome children, Anne de Gaulle died at an early age. Her brother Philippe recollects arriving at his parents' house in 1948 to find the entire residence immersed in silence. No one, he writes, dared to say anything to his grief-stricken father. Anne was subsequently buried in the cemetery at the de Gaulles' parish church in Colombey-les-Deux-Églises. After attending their regular Sunday Mass and always on the anniversary of her death, Charles and Yvonne de Gaulle would visit Anne's grave. 22 years after she died, her father was laid to rest beside Anne. Her mother joined them in 1979.

That, however, wasn't the end of the story. Back in October 1945, the de Gaulles raised enough money from private donors to buy the chateau de Vert-Cœur in the department of Yvelines, not far from Paris. They then began creating a home for intellectually disabled girls. A few months after Anne's death, the Fondation Anne-de-Gaulle opened its doors at the chateau. Staffed by nuns, funded by the considerable royalties generated by de Gaulle's memoirs, and presided over by Yvonne de Gaulle until her death, the Foundation continues to serve the disabled today.

One of Charles de Gaulle's biographers, the late Jean Lacouture, records him as once saying, “Without Anne, I could never perhaps have done what I did. She gave me the heart and the inspiration.” In that sense, the man of June 18 and his beloved pauvre petiteAnne teach us something which we are tempted to forget - that all of us can find strength in weakness and that nothing is more powerful than self-giving love.

About the Author

Dr. Samuel Gregg is Research Director at the Acton Institute. He has written and spoken extensively on questions of political economy, economic history, ethics in finance, and natural law theory. He is the author of many books, including Becoming Europe (2013) and For God and Profit: How Banking and Finance Can Serve the Common Good (2016).


A Tale of Two Dads
I heard that one of my colleagues had recently lost his father. I asked him about it, and he shared this story.

My "step" father who raised me since age of 9 and who served REALLY as my Father/Dad… died on Saturday 10 days ago.

I spent more than 2 months in a California hotel, visiting him this past summer, when he was still happy and walking and living life… tending his vegetable garden, and not taking any chemo.

His cancer was two separate types of terminal lung cancer, one in each lung… so he chose to not do chemo.

My blood father, whom I hadn't spoken to, by choice – for more than 32 years, died two days later.

I had no idea that he was dying or had cancer also, until about 4 days before.

Strangely, I had been praying for each of them, on alternate days, all day long for about 4 weeks before they died.

So, I was able to reduce my resentment toward my blood father for all the mental cruelty he had put me thru for the 1st half of my life, until age 28, when I mentally "divorced" him.

The praying for him, gave me a sense of compassion and peace, and love for that part of myself represented by him.

I had no idea he needed prayers.

It's almost as if I "manifested" him coming back into my life, when my uncle made his daughter (my cousin) write to my wife to tell me to call him. My whole family knew I never wanted to speak to him again.

It turns out, he never woke up during those final 4 days, after I called my uncle, but I was able to tell my uncle I forgave his brother, my blood father.

When my step-Dad died Saturday, it was very sad.

When my blood Dad died on Monday, I felt nothing, unless it was relief… but I was glad to have released him and to feel absolutely no resentment.

It's just weird they would die almost on the same day.

All my life since age 9, I never called my "step"-Dad my Step-Dad. I called him Dad. He Really WAS My Dad, and I loved him dearly.

My real (blood) father, on the other hand, severely crippled my self image for the first 28 years of my life by telling me I was no good, and making it clear that I could NEVER please him, no matter what.

If I had actually gotten the opportunity to tell him I forgave him, he would have said: "What! Forgive me for WHAT?!!"

He was a sad case. An alcoholic all his life.

I'm glad I was able to break the mold on that one, and to transcend him.

I've had many father-figures in my life, from Socrates & Jesus, to Shakespeare & Ben Franklin. From Napoleon Hill to my "Step" Dad. From my career role models, to my entrepreneur role models.

I feel really happy that I did that, so when the time came, I actually felt for a day or two…

That I would be able to talk with him, if he ever woke up and could get on the phone.

However, by the time my "step" Dad died, I decided not to give him one last chance to crush me
or lash out at me, and instead, I asked my Uncle to tell him I loved him, and that I said Goodbye.

In the end, I was so proud of myself for not giving him that opportunity, but also for not feeling any resentment toward him, only compassion and kindness.

This was only possible due to the 4 weeks of praying. During that 4 weeks, I healed that part of myself, that was "him" inside me.

On the other hand… My "step"-dad, who always always there for me, to the extent he could be working in manufacturing as the sole provider, raised me as the oldest of 7 kids, 5 of which WERE his blood.

What I neglected to say about him at the end, was that I was so gratified to have just pulled up the stakes, and to have spent more than 2 months with him this past summer, when he was happy and healthy, and times were good.

We went to baseball games, county fair, out to lunch & dinner, had family BBQs.

In the end he went very fast, and the way he wanted, surrounded by love, with some of us near, and some of us far, but he KNEW he was loved.

I feel very blessed to have prayed for both of them, at odd moments all thru the days – on alternate days, thru those final 4 weeks.

It's just strange that both were dying of the same disease, and I didn't even know it until the very end.

One last thing.

I continue to pray for both of them all day long, whenever I can think of it – from midnight to midnight… in rotation with 2 others.

It goes this way… Pray for –>

1) Blood Father
2) Mother (who died of cancer in 1994)
3) Step Dad
4) My Wife

I switch at midnight, and rotate through again.

These are the four biggest influence on who I am, who I've been, and who I'm becoming.

Source: Coffeehouse Theology Copyright © 2006-2019 Coffeehouse Theology.

De-Wimpifying Dads and Recapturing a Vision of True Manhood

By JT Waresak

We live during a modern era that has systematically "wimpified" what it means to be a man. If we continue down the road we're currently on, the total collapse of the family, as we've known it for thousands of years, will follow. Many would say, and I agree, that as the family goes, the nation will follow. It's not a question of if, it is only a matter of when. If we allow the history books to reveal that this generation ushered in the fall of the family, we only have ourselves to blame.

For years, studies shown the vital roles that both moms and dads play in raising their children. This only supports the biblical model of a family that God created. Over the last several decades, our educational systems, government agencies and media have pursued a relentless attack against the masculinity of men and simultaneously have devalued the role of a "stay at home" mom. Unfortunately, the reality of our "evolved" families have only pushed moms out of their homes while telling dad he's not really needed. Sadly, our kids have suffered the greatest consequences. This is not to say women with children can't work outside the home. The point is that the roles of both motherhood and fatherhood have been greatly devalued in a number of ways. I share this for this reason. While the fall of the family will squarely rest on man's shoulders, it is also an issue that is impacted by the ever-changing roles of womanhood. However, that's a different topic for another day.

Webster's online dictionary defines a wimp as "a weak and cowardly or unadventurous person." Growing up, to be called a wimp was a direct slam against one's manhood. No boy or man alive would want this term to be associated with them, and there's a reason for this. There is something God embeds deep within the very fiber of our manhood that shouts against the mere idea of mediocrity and yearns for something more. I believe that "more" is God's grand calling for men to be leaders that reflect His greater glory. God has called us to His Great Adventure. It is a calling of great passion and purpose. Foundational within this God-given quest is the anti-thesis of being a wimp. As men, we are called to be strong, courageous and to embrace adventure where God so directs and wills it.

I recently came across a speech by Theodore Roosevelt, entitled The Strenuous Life. Here is an excerpt from that timeless address that is targeted directly at men and is a message, I believe, we desperately need at this time.

"Thank God for the iron in the blood of our fathers, the men who upheld the wisdom of Lincoln, and bore sword or rifle in the armies of Grant! Let us, the children of the men who proved themselves equal to the mighty days, let us, the children of the men who carried the great Civil War to a triumphant conclusion, praise the God of our fathers that the ignoble counsels of peace were rejected; that the suffering and loss, the blackness of sorrow and despair, were unflinchingly faced, and the years of strife endured; for in the end the slave was freed, the Union restored, and the mighty American republic placed once more as a helmeted queen among nations...We of this generation do not have to face a task such as that our fathers faced, but we have our tasks, and woe to us if we fail to perform them! The work must be done; we cannot escape our responsibility; and if we are worth our salt, we shall be glad of the chance to do the work - glad of the chance to show ourselves equal to one of the great tasks set modern civilization. But let us not deceive ourselves as to the importance of the task. Let us not be misled by vain-glory into underestimating the strain it will put on our powers. Above all, let us, as we value our own self-respect, face the responsibilities with proper seriousness, courage, and high resolve."

Wow. I pray that we can once again be men that pursue our responsibilities of manhood with such vigor and resolution. I've been called radical by some regarding my faith and my work. Yet, when I look at such men as the Apostle Paul, Lincoln, Grant, Roosevelt, Jonathan Edwards, or John Wesley, my life, in comparison, has been a mundane cake walk. God forgive me for the hours and days that have been wasted on my self-centeredness, laziness, "wimpiness" and lack of any greater God-driven vision for my life. We have allowed the world to lull us into a state of slumber. Instead of engaging our families and the culture for Christ, many of us have become entangled by the world's affairs and have stepped off of the battlefronts that need us most.

When it comes right down to it, God has given us our blueprints of manhood through His Word and the life of Jesus. Christ came on a mission, and He calls us to follow Him. His life is the greatest picture of what true manhood looks like. Like Christ, we must lead by example as we willingly embrace sacrifice, hardship, diligence, discipline, devotion, honor, duty, valor and above all else, a life that loves what God loves and hates what He hates. It is an uncompromising life that unceasingly labors after God-driven results where they matter most.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, martyred for his willingness to fight evil head-on expressed it like this, "When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die." At the core of our Christian manhood, is this simple yet profound truth of our faith: Our lives are not our own. We're here to serve God, our families and our communities (Romans 12:1). As we walk with God, He walks with us (James 4:8). In Christ, we are called and given a divine strength and fortitude that surpasses anything this world can throw at us.

Some practical action steps for myself and other men that can relate:

1. Repent before God of any wimpy-like tendencies in my life, i.e. where I have placed the fear of man and his accolades over the fear of God and His glory.

2. Pray for God's divine provision and protection (Philippians 4:13).

3. Relentlessly pursue God's grand vision of biblical manhood and trust Him with the results regardless of any perceived outcome.

We, as men, must also never forget that God created our wives to complete us. We are truly lacking if we pursue our manhood apart from our wives' intimate involvement in our day-to-day lives. As you make the de-wimpifying resolution, don't forget to include your wife and encourage her pursuit of biblical womanhood. If we sincerely resolve ourselves around this model of God's calling for men and women, our children will be handed a legacy after God's own heart.

Another quote from Roosevelt that heralds our call to action:

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."

I'm reminded of the words found in Revelation 3:16: "So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth."

Men, we've willingly accepted culture's wimpy views of manhood and allowed a generation of boys and girls to think little or less of the men they call daddy. In many ways, we are lukewarm when it comes to our faith and families. Yet, at the end of the day, we hold the destiny of manhood within our own hands. Men, our wives, children and our nation need us to be de-wimpified. God's calling over our lives compels us to do something about it. One of the most important questions we need to ask ourselves is this: When the history books are written, what will they say about this generation of men?

About The Author:

JT Waresak has been involved in family ministry for the past decade and serves as the Digital Director at Family Talk. He is the CEO of and, two digital and video marketing companies that help guide churches, non-profits and business owners in their digital engagement efforts. He is a graduate of Grace Theological Seminary and has authored several books on the topic of fatherhood, marriage and missional living. You can find all of JT's blogs and new campaigns at

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Malankara World Journals with the Theme: Father's Day

From Malankara World Journal Archives:

Volume 6 No 354: June 17 2016

Volume 5 No 291: June 19 2015

Volume 4 No 223: June 12, 2014

Volume 3 No 147: June 13 2013

Volume 2 No 81: June 14 2012


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