by Mark Nemetz
Reviewed by Eileen Quinn Knight, Ph.D.Profiles in Catholicism
Mark Nemetz is a published author and educator in California; he is intrigued by the stories that shape and define persons, places and histories. In the Words of My Father, Mark explores the connection between faith, the search for meaning and the kinship that results.
The entire book is a gentle, simple and meaningful dialogue between a father and a son. Mark, the father is relating to the son, his child, how to begin a relationship with God. Mark starts with the Our Father and has a delightful conversation about the qualities of the father. He uses his father and grandfather as an example. He also responds to the fact that his son knows people from his school class that don’t have a father. He wants to know how they pray. Mark explains to him that it makes it more difficult to think of God, our father, but it can be done. Mark then explains to the son the wonderful qualities of the father and has a dialogue with the son. The son asks Mark why God lives in heaven. Mark tells him that we will talk about that tomorrow night!
The next night, Mark, defers the question to his wife as his son’s mother, the son’s grandmother recently passed away. So the mother explained to the son what heaven isn’t in a very thoughtful manner. She said that heaven is a place of love and since God is there, he surrounds himself with those who are filled with that love. The discussion about heaven helps the son understand why God is in heaven and why we are on earth.
In the next several scenarios, the father relates to the son the meaning of each of the phrases of the Our Father. Again, the explanation takes place with gentleness and kindness. The emphasis is on the love of God. In the last scenario, he explains to the son what the meaning of the word Amen is. He tells the son it means I Agree! Then they say the Our Father together. This is a delightful story to weave through the Our Father with children. This book is a thoughtful and prayerful way to have the child begin to know God in their life.