Today you picked a little yellow rosebud from the garden and carried it into the house to give it to me. Your little baby face beamed up at me as you gave me the rosebud. What joy that moment held for me - joy knowing how deeply I love you, and then as I went to put the rose in water, I realised it had no stem, and that without water it would never grow from a rosebud into a beautiful full rose, but that soon, all too soon, it would die.
I felt sad for a moment at this thought and as I watched you toddle across the room, I wondered how I might help you, my little rosebud, grow and 'blossom' into manhood. What can I teach you? What can I say to you that will help you to grow up in this 'thorny' world, and yet know peace, joy and happiness, which, dear Luke, are the greatest treasures anyone can possess.
Always know, Luke, that you are deeply loved. You are loved by Daddy and me, and your brothers and sisters. But as you grow up and begin to ask questions for yourself you will know that men and women have a need in their hearts for something more, something deeper than that found even in the very best of human love. (...)
Luke, do not be afraid to love others unselfishly. Yes, many times you will get your fingers pricked on the thorns of disappointment or rejection, but many more times you will pluck the rose of love and receive great happiness and joy from its sweet scent and colour. Don't be afraid to risk loving and remember that, as the little rosebud needed the water to live, so much more you and I, and all the people of the world need to love and be loved. Know that 'love' is the greatest gift you personally can give to another fellow traveller along the 'thorny' path of life. (...)
With ever so gentle steps, walk side-by-side with all the travellers on this 'thorny' path of life. They will differ from you in colour, creed (there are many paths to God) culture and politics-but above all remember your fellow travellers have the same needs as you. Our common humanity is far more important than any religious or political ideologies. Treat every man and woman justly and gently as you would have them treat you.
In your life Luke, pray to be a 'just' man. Your life is precious and sacred, Luke, and your first right as a human being is your right to your life. So as you would ask natural justice of your fellow travellers in respecting your right to life, then you too must give 'justice' and respect every person's right to life. This means, my little son, that you must never kill another human being. It will not be easy for you to refuse to kill. Sadly we live in a world where those who refuse to kill and choose to live nonviolent lives are looked upon as naive or as cowards. Yes, it will take all of your courage to walk unarmed and refuse to hate and kill, in a world which insists that you must have enemies and be prepared to kill them before they kill you.
Stand tall and strong, armed only with love, dear Luke, and refuse to hate, refuse to have enemies, refuse to let fear master your life. Only love can bring down the barriers of hate and enmity between men and nations. Hate and weapons only fuel the fear and bring closer the day of war. Let no man plant in your heart the false seed of pride in any country's flag, a seed that produces the flower of narrow nationalism which grows so wildly, trampling and killing all life around it. Remember always, Luke, people are more important than countries.
I would not give one hair of your precious head for any country - you are more important than any country. And if I feel this passionate love for you, and for my other children, Mark, Joanne, Marie Louise and John, I too feel passionately for the lives of the little children who are mine too, who to day die of starvation in Ethiopia; for the little children in Moscow and the little children in New York who are told they must be enemies and may end up someday killing each other -in the name of the 'flag'. Remember, Luke, you have no country. The world is your country. You have not only 2 brothers and 2 sisters but millions of brothers and sisters. (...)
And now, my little son, before you fall asleep, let me say the most important thing of all to you. Be happy, be joyous, live every minute of this beautiful gift of life. When suffering comes into your life, and sadly I cannot, much as I would love to, protect you from all suffering, and when you come through the winter of your life, remember that summer will return, the sun will shine again, and the road will be covered in beautiful, oh so very, very beautiful, yellow roses of love.
God bless you and keep you, my little Luke.