Please listen to Father Broom's Homily
on the Family and Fatherhood
Divorce rates skyrocketing at an all-time
high, adultery wide and rampant, trial-marriages resulting in cohabitation and separation
abandoning children to one-parent families, the homosexual agenda promoting
“Same-sex unions” adopting children and calling this the “modern-family”,
pornography invading homes thereby producing powerful addictions that lead to
total alienation from other members of the family---- this is a bird’s eye view
of the family situation in the modern world.
Nonetheless, followers of Jesus
Christ lift up the banner with the word HOPE. The word “hope” is one of the
three theological virtues that are infused in the soul in the moment of
Baptism----Faith, HOPE, and
Hope is the virtue by which we place
our total trust in God. Despite our failures, weaknesses, shortcomings, our
sins and total fragility we know that God is our Rock, our Fortress, and our
Light in the midst of the dark tunnel.
As the Archangel Gabriel announced to Mary, “Nothing is impossible for
In this brief essay we would like to
present one theme to strengthen families that are under assault, and that is the importance of the FATHER in
the formation of wholesome, solid and holy families. The mother is the heart of the family but the
Father is the “Head” of the family.
What then are goals that every many
who is called to the marriage vocation should aim to attain so that indeed he
can live out what is true “Fatherhood” in a world of “Drop-out Dad’s”,
negligent Father’s, and overly timid men?
First, to be a good “Father” he
should first be a good “Son of God the Father”.
The Father of the family represents and reflects the image of God the
Father. If a Father has an identity crisis in the spiritual realm--- that is to
say, he does not understand his intimate relationship to God the Father—then he
will not be able to transmit to his children and family an authentic vision of
God the Father.
However, if the earthly father has
encountered God the Father in an intimate, personal, filial, and convincing way
then he will be able to transmit this fatherhood to those whom God will place
under his care.
A prime example can be found in the life
of Karol Woytyla--- the future Holy Father, Pope John Paul II. He lost his mother at 9 years of age and then
spent much of his time with his father; they even shared the same bedroom at
Young Karol recalls waking up in the
early hours, way before dawn, and could see the figure of his father kneeling,
deeply absorbed in prayer. This example
of his father left an indelible impression on the young Karol. His earthly Father had a deep and intimate
relationship to God the Father and transmitted this to his son.
Then Karol would become the great
“HOLY FATHER”---Pope John Paul II, one of the greatest and clearest reflections
of true fatherhood in the history of the world.
Second, after placing primary
emphasis on his relationship with God the Father, a true father should love his
wife. The love and friendship that he
has with his wife should be indispensable.
This love should not stagnate, or worse yet, fizzle out.
On the contrary this human love blessed supernaturally by the Sacrament
of Holy Matrimony should blossom, grow, and flourish until the moment of death.
All too many marriages lose their
vibrancy; the love grows cold to the point that both live in the same house as
if they were strangers to each other. Obviously the children will suffer the
How can spouses maintain the flame
enkindled and burning bright? As in any activity, sport, or profession, the relationship
between spouses demands work and hard work--- blood, sweat and tears.
First of all both should cultivate an
ever deeper relationship with God. How? Prayer, both individual and family, the
Sacramental life—frequent confession and Holy Communion--, devotion to Mary
manifested by the daily recitation of the Holy Rosary, calling to mind the
words of the Rosary priest Father Patrick Peyton, “The family that prays
together stays together.”--- all of these are part and parcel of growing in a
mutual relationship with God. This, of
course, will foster unity between themselves as husband and wife.
Other activities should not be
excluded such as a Marriage Retreat on an annual basis, Marriage Encounter, as
well as cultivating good friendships among other good Catholic couples!
Third, the Father should love his
children and see them as a precious treasure that God has given to him with the
primary purpose of bringing these little ones to their ultimate destiny which
is heaven. A child is a gift given to
father and mother but with the primary purpose of the parents of being ladders
by which the children can climb to heaven.
An authentic father first should
provide for the spiritual need of the child. He should teach his child to pray
as soon as possible. Little children are like sponges. The nature of a sponge
is to absorb; it can absorb dirty water or clean water. Likewise a child can absorb
the dirt of modern world or through the help of a good father, absorb that
which is pure, noble and uplifting.
The father should be the teacher to
the child especially in prayer. He
should be always mindful of the immortal saying of Father Patrick Peyton: “The family that prays together stays
together.” With respect to the art of
prayer, the father should exercise three different aspects of prayer: 1) He
should be a man of prayer and not be afraid to manifest it publically. There is a saying that praises prayer as
such: “ The man is greatest when he is found on his knees!” Why? Because he recognizes that true
greatness comes from the Father of all good gifts, God Himself. 2) He should
pray with the family—the blessing of the meal, the family Rosary and the active
participation in Holy mass which is of course the greatest of all prayers. 3)
Finally, a true father should be like Moses who elevated his arms so that the
Jews could win the battle against their enemies. A father should pray
frequently and fervently for his family for their protection from all evils---
physical, moral, spiritual—and for his family’s sanctification and salvation.
An authentic Christian father should
have his eyes fixed on heaven at all times and aware of the world and the
dangers that menace the flock entrusted to him—his wife and children.
The greatest desire of the father for
his family should be the salvation of their immortal soul. Jesus said, “What would it profit a man if he
gain the whole world and lose his soul in the process? What can we offer in exchange for our
Until we have restored the essential
role of the father in the family to his proper place the world will suffer
intensely. Man who is called to the vocation of marriage assumes an enormously
important responsibility. The end of
the vocation is holiness of life and the heavenly reward.
However, man (the father) must strive
daily to cultivate a deeper relationship to God. Then his wife must be
cherished as his greatest gift on earth; in the words of Jesus the pearl of infinite
value. Then, as God sends children, they
should be treasured as priceless gems. The father must receive them willingly
from the hands of the Father, the Creator. They should be formed by the father
emotionally, intellectually, morally, but especially spiritually. Indeed the father should do all in his power
to instill in them a deep-rooted Fear of the Lord, but even more, a tender and
loving trust and love for our Heavenly Father.
Let us turn to the best of earthly
fathers, the Good Saint Joseph, and beg for his powerful intercession. St
Joseph, ornament of the domestic life, patron of families, patron of
fathers, pray for us!