My father lived a good, long, and happy life. Last night when I looked at my father, he looked like he was peacefully sleeping, very happy, and somehow to me, getting ready to go somewhere really special; not just because he was dressed up nice, but because there was a smile on his face, like he was closing his eyes thinking about all the good God gave him and the opportunity to help bring it all into this world.
Jesus said that when you have even a little faith, the size of a mustard seed, you can move mountains and if you love God with all your heart and you put your trust in Him, anything is possible. When you trust God and you live for Him and love Him, whatever you do will become nothing less than a success... the kind of success He wants you to have in His plan. That's what I believe.
I like to think that in his own way, my father in his heart put his trust in God and slowly over the years built a wonderful, honest and thriving business that now his sons and grandsons and maybe even great grandsons can enjoy, and that a little business can and did become something large enough to support many families and friends over the years. I believe my father knew well that God deserves the credit for all the good that comes into our lives, and that one of the ways he wanted to pass this on to me was by making sure I went to church every Sunday and learned how to grow up and be a good man like he was trying to be.
So, over the years I grew up and learned from my Dad how to work and take my place helping to run this business. What I remember most is how my father taught me to work hard with everything I have, and to 'get it done,' just like the motto from the Navy Sea Bees, which he served in as a young man. I grew up learning not how to be another Louis, but to be Bobby Mariotti. I know that a good father wants his son to have more than he himself had, and to go further in the good that life has to offer than he himself had the opportunity or strength of will to. A good father loves to see his son happy, strong and successful in this world, and to have more in life than he did. This honors him. This is God's gift back to him.
Every time I drive through this town, I see houses my father built with his own hands and I remember as a young man helping him build them... learning how to work with my hands and to work hard. Even when I went to eat pizza at Ghigiarellis I couldn't help but look at that old wooden bar that everyone leans on without a thought and remember the days when it sat in my father's tiny workshop being built. My father built homes that families could live in, and he went on to build a business that would do that same thing in so many places outside this town. This business is a gift from God that has given many members of my family wonderful opportunities to be successful and to have a good, comfortable life which can be enjoyed.
But to me, as important and as God-given as this business is, my father's greatest contribution to this life was not Mariotti Building Products. The way I see it, in faith, the greatest contribution my father Louis gave in his life that I can only speak for is my own life, all that he taught me, and all that he gave me to be the kind of person God wants me to be. I love my life. I am so thankful to my father for helping in God's plan to bring me into this world. I love all God has given me in this life, and I want to do just as my father did. All I can do is build things in this life that others can live in and have life through. I have come to discover that this is my calling in life, and how I do so love this calling. Everyday I thank Jesus for being given another opportunity to exercise this vocation and passion to build and make for others.
I am thankful to my father for passing on part of this business to me, but I see that everything good in my life comes from God first. He gave it to my father, who in turn gave it to me, just like life itself. I have had the opportunity and resources to provide generously for every member of my family. Not everyone in this world can say that and in my mind every one of us should be counting the blessings and thanking God for what they have and can do. None of the Mariotti family have ever gone without at any time in their lives, and the thanks should go to Our Lord for this. I am thankful to Our Lord for giving me all that I have. This is, to me, a gift from God that can only be acknowledged by getting down on one's knees daily in prayer.
I certainly made my share of bad decisions through life. Once I was out on my own and old enough to be my own man, my father could not control my life. Everyone makes bad decisions before God, each in his or her own way. Sometimes what looks saintly and good to everyone else is not really saintly and good... and what is seen by everyone as a thing to be despised is really a treasure to God. We can fool others, but we cannot fool God. He sees everything about us, inside and out. We have to make hard decisions to be truthful before God, and my Dad always taught me to be strong enough to make hard decisions for the good, whether in business, or in life.
A lot of people won't like you when you make the right decisions for the business.. but its right, so like the Sea Bees say, "Get it Done." Be honest and good and leave the rest to God. Some people will talk behind your back and hurt you deeply, but you go on because it is the right thing to do. Some close to home break bread with you and yet only want money or something for themselves that comes at your expense. That's business, that's life. I watched how my father endured these difficulties and I learned from him how to endure them myself in my own circumstances, whether in business or my personal life.
But I am thankful to God and to my dad for teaching me how to be me. As I said, I made some bad decisions over the years, but the best decisions I made were to turn to God with all my heart... and of this decision I am the most proud. Because that is me, and I think being in love with God the way I am gives my dad one of the best honors he could receive.
Jesus says very strongly in Scripture that we must love God with all of our hearts, all of our minds, all of our souls, and all of our strength. Not some of our hearts, some of our souls, some of our minds, and so forth. He said ALL. That's in my heart and soul to do. Not everyone cares for that about me, and a lot of people deride me and try to make a fool out of me for how I love God, a lot of times behind my back. But they can say what they want, because l am only trying to do what Jesus said was essential. If everyone in business got too sensitive about what everyone says about them, no one would be successful or get anything done. But I remember my father's attitude: "Get it Done". And so the unhappiness and resentment that rules the hearts of others is not something that will ever deter me. My father taught me not to let this hold me back in business, and my personal life too.
Because of Our Lord and my father's good example, I feel inspired every day to give my best. I use my faith as my inspiration and strength to do the best job I can do for that day. I love doing business because it's a way I can channel all the energy that is in my heart and mind to a good purpose. I don't believe this business is here simply to make me wealthy or to give me more opportunity to indulge myself in expensive things and materialistic pursuits. This business is not here to give me a social status where I can look down at others and be separated from them. It's not something that serves as an obstacle between me and my Lord. No, it's a gift that l can use for others. As I said, I am thankful to God and my Dad for so many things because l can provide generously. I have never abandoned anyone in my life, family or friend, although many have abandoned me. This happened to Jesus, and why would it be different for anyone who truly loves Him? I personally believe St. Francis, my favorite Saint, was the greatest Saint that ever lived..and I read his biography and saw how many of his family and friends hated him once he turned entirely to God, saying he was a heretic, he was against the Church, and he was nothing but the founder of a cult. Yet he just turned and prayed for them. St. Francis' love was so powerful he even tamed the famous wolf of Gubbio, where my family is from-- and that same love and St. Francis' prayers, tamed a wolf named Bobby Mariotti.
Jesus was crucified because He dared to love continuously, and not everyone approved of Him and His love, the way He loved His Father, and the way He loved others. Many accused Him of being a heretic and for breaking up families....it's right there in Scripture...but as we all know, He is the Son of God and never did any such thing.
And as for my good fortune? -- I see my good fortune as a blessing from God and I want to use all I can in His service. I do this because I love Him. And not everyone loves me for this, and some people I know I will never be able to please, because they only want to see bad. They don't want to see good. I love Jesus and Jesus said that anyone who 'truly' loves Him will in fact be persecuted and hated because of Him.
My father was a simple man and while he didn't spell all these things out to me as I grew up, he gave me wise support as a good father with good values that I learned by watching and doing, WITH HIM. I learned from him what I would need to be a good man. I still try to do that today.
Life is not about money and power to do with one's life whatever one pleases, but one should get what he worked for— all the wages, all the benefits— and all what a fathers wants for his son— if there are two, then all is divided by two. If three, then divide by three and so on. It's about love of God and love of
neighbor. It's about generosity and giving without counting the cost. It's about pouring yourself out so that those you love might have more life than you do. Your joy comes from watching that happen. It starts with a mustard seed and ends up with a life full of joy and eternal life in God.
Thank you, Jesus, for giving me this life!
Thank you, Jesus, for my father Louis