My Dad was my primary evangelist, for I took my first steps in my faith life with him. I remember as a very little child sitting on his knee with a large picture book of Bible Stories. Over half each page was picture while the text of the story occupied the rest of the space. While I looked intently at the picture, Dad would read the story and then answer any questions I had. He called me his question box since I always had many questions. Over and over again I required him to read the picture book to me until one day he grew weary. Handing the book to me, he told me to read it to him. Although I had not yet attended any formal school, I took the book, and having memorized all the stories from constant repetition, I did recite all of them by heart, even turning the pages at the right time.
I do not know what happened to that Bible picture book, but after Dad died, I inherited his Bible as well as a little crucifix he kept in his night stand. One of my fondest memories is of a conversation I had with him when I was about 5 years old. We were in the bedroom and he was getting dressed. I asked him another question about God and he began to answer by speaking about Jesus. I exclaimed, “No, not Jesus….God!” Then he said, “But Jesus is God”! I looked up at the crucifix on the wall hanging above his dresser and pondered the incredible truth: Jesus is God”.
Here is a little poem that commemorates my evangelizing Dad:
I sat upon my Daddy's knee
His arms held both the book and me.
His face unseen, his breath I heard
As he proclaimed the mighty word.
Now grown, I hold the Bible well
And read the word myself to tell,
Yet still in Father's sure embrace
I listen till I see His face.
From my Dad I imbibed a love for the Sacred Scriptures and for the Person of Jesus, the Word made Flesh. By his own faithful Christian life marked by suffering and joy, he taught me to hope in the God who loves us to the end and calls us into His Trinitarian embrace. Blessed Father's Day and Trinity Sunday to all!