Gaffer and Other Wonderful News

chesapeake-bay-sailing1
My dad loved sailing

Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal. –John 6:27

waxsealWhat is the seal that the Father has set on Christ?

Setting a seal involves impressing something upon a recipient, something that was not there before.

From all eternity, the Son of God is divine with the Father. There is no seal-setting in the generation of the second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Both Persons are eternally divine.

The seal that the Father set must therefore be in the humanity of the Son. It is the seal that has united human nature with God in such a way that there is only one Person: Christ, true God and true man.

We too have our share in this same seal, through the sacrament of Confirmation.

My new nephew, Raphael
My new nephew, Raphael

When we are confirmed, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit. Divine grace is impressed upon us in such a way that we are equipped to participate fully in the sacrifice of Christ. We become priests. We can come to the altar and offer acceptable sacrifice to God: ourselves and the whole world, along with the divine Victim…

…Sam Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings is one of the greatest characters ever created.

elanorgamgeeHe has countless symphathetic qualities. One of them is his loving devotion to his father, who is known as “the Gaffer.” (‘Gaffer’ is a Hobbit term for ‘old man.’)

Sam always speaks of the Gaffer as an old friend whom he wants to make proud. He worries about the Gaffer’s well-being. Sam tenderly overlooks his father’s aged weaknesses.

When the Hobbits return from destroying the ring and conquering the evil Lord Sauron, Frodo tells the Gaffer that Sam is one of the great heroes of Middle Earth. But the Gaffer is not impressed. Sam takes his father’s incredulity humbly:

Kirk White in 1978
Kirk White in 1978

“It takes a lot o’ believing,” said the gaffer, “though I can see he’s been mixing in strange company. What’s come of his weskit? I don’t hold with wearing ironmongery, whether it wears well or no.”

[weskit: waistcoat, vest. ironmongery: in this case, armor]

…Three years ago today, my dear dad went to his eternal reward. I had the privilege of receiving him into the Church, confirming him, and giving him Holy Communion shortly before he died in Easton, Maryland.

As the plan of God would have it, today is also the birthday of my new nephew. Raphael’s older brother is named after my dad, and he also has my dad’s monogrammed cufflinks. (Although, at three, he is not yet ready to wear French cuffs.)

May God be praised! May the dead rest in peace. And may the holy Archangel watch over his newborn namesake and guide him through a holy life.

Tobias and the Archangel Raphael, from the book of Tobit
Tobias and the Archangel Raphael, from the book of Tobit

2 thoughts on “Gaffer and Other Wonderful News

  1. Dear Father White,
    First let me say that I am so sorry about the loss of your father. May he rest in peace. Second of all, let me just say that your nephew is beautiful! It is very special that your nephew was born today and to be named after an angel!! Congratulations Father!! And to the proud parents too!! *SMILES*

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