I hope we all spend some time reflecting upon the gift of fatherhood today. Whether or not we are a father, we all have one of our own. Its our Dad who has given us life in cooperation with our mothers. And, given the presumption that our father was "good," we have an easier time reflecting upon fatherhood. Conversely, given the presumption that our father was "bad," we can still reflect upon fatherhood because we come to realize what was lacking in our dad's imperfections and can arrive at a more clear understanding of what fathers ought to be.
Furthermore, as each day passes, we come to learn about the importance of fatherhood in our culture. So, from whichever angle, we can reflect upon fatherhood and invite God to bless dads, no matter their ability or influence. We can ask God to strengthen the gift of fatherhood so we can all come to know how God is reflected through all fathers.
A long discussion could ensue which surrounds the lack of strong fatherhood in our culture. Some make the claim that a good amount of violence, among boys and girls, can be traced to a lack of sound fatherhood. Some make the claim that our eroding work ethic and diminishing value system are a consequence of weak fatherhood. Consequently, what we experience in our churches reflects much of the same. In fact, there are studies which support church attendance to be significantly positively influenced by a father's church attendance (See (http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=16-05-024-v). What occurs in our parishes by way of volunteering, educating and donating, for example, are all influenced by fatherhood.
Along these lines, we may come to some consensus that fathers bring a bit of order into our lives. Sometimes that order has come through a heavy hand, sometimes through gentleness and mercy. Hopefully we see some of God the Father's attributes through the order that has come into our lives. In fact, it's the Creator God who has put order to all created things (refer to the Book of Genesis).
Sometimes for order to be in place, there has to be some correction and guidance. We might also call some of that sense of ordering a kind of calling upward. So within the framework of our human nature, the weakness within us often tempts us to move toward those things which are lower or lesser. We like to take the path of least resistance. Sometimes that path is even more fun and seems to take less energy. These are at least some of the things we believe at the outset. There is another side, however. There is the approach that fathers, and more importantly God the Father, calls us to the higher road. The reality exists that we are, as God's subjects, called to work against our human nature and move higher in our choices with Him and one another. The call toward higher realities is often the greater good. Those higher realities often bring a lot more order into our lives in the present and in the future. Life itself, and the life of faith, were never sold as easy. So, often, we need to look toward those higher realities and trust that they bring more order into our lives so we can enjoy the greater good.
Somewhere down deep in our reflections upon fatherhood, we may come to understand that fathers want what is best for their children. That "best" is often aiming to achieve order and the higher goods. Each day we are blessed to receive goodness from God who wants us to be in relationship with Him now and forever. On this Father' s Day, we can continue to ask God for the graces to be generous in receiving His blessings so that we can come to know Him now and for all eternity. Jesus, the beloved Son, shows us how to achieve that greater good and live in relationship with God. The Holy Spirit continues to fortify us so that we have the strength to attain our goal. We continue to pray for one another that our sense of God's fatherhood will assist us in renewing the face of the earth.BACK TO LIST