All true fatherhood emanates from the
true and original source of Fatherhood, God the Father. The most well-known
prayer in all of Christianity is the Lord’s Prayer, also known as THE OUR
FATHER, taught by Jesus the Son of the Eternal Father.(Mt. 6:9-14/Lk. 11:1-4)
Many of the crises in the world stem
from the absence of the Father-figure, the neglect of the Father to live up to
his noble vocation, or the crisis in understanding of what it really means to
be a father. Of the many identity crises
prevalent in the modern world, the crisis of true fatherhood might be at the
top of the list.
This being the case then, how can we
discover, cultivate as well as promote true Fatherhood in a society where there
are so many “Drop-out Dads”? Let us enter in and study together this supremely
important topic. The family, the
society, the country and the world at large depends on the person of the Father
and fatherhood that flows from being a true father.
GOD THE FATHER AS MODEL. As said earlier, all true fatherhood flows
from God the Father. So that an earthly
father can truly exercise his fatherhood properly, he must have an image,
model, example after which he can pattern his own life. If the earthly father has truly experienced
the presence, power, tenderness and firmness and especially the love of the
Heavenly Father, then he we will be capable of living out in his own life’s
vocation the love of the father to the family that he has been entrusted to
lead safely home to God the Father.
BIBLICAL ROLE MODEL: (Lk. 15:11-32: the Parable of the Prodigal
Son). An excellent role-model for the earthly father is the presentation, given
by Jesus Himself, of the Father in the most famous of all parables, the Parable
of the Prodigal Son. Another name that
we can give to the Parable of the Prodigal Son is the MERCIFUL FATHER. The virtues or qualities of the Father of the
Prodigal son are virtues that every earthly father should strive with all of
his heart, mind and will to emulate and imitate. What then are the virtues of
the Father of the Prodigal Son? Love for both of his sons is paramount.
Also, freedom given at a dear price. Mercy to the highest
degree—a father always ready to forgive the repentant son. Patience plays
a key role. The Father gives the wandering son patience to rethink his ways and
to return home willingly and lovingly. Reconciler—he desires to
reconcile both of the sons despite their differences. A Father knows how to elicit
the good in the different members of the family; he is also capable of mending
and repairing broken relationships. Joy—a true and authentic
Father is a source of joy for the entire family. Not only does the father
correct with gentleness, but his is capable of celebrating with joy the happy
moments of the family. Provide and nourish—the Father in the Parable of
the Prodigal son also provides a rich banquet for the wandering son who has
finally returned. A true and authentic father will provide for the physical
needs, but also the spiritual and moral needs of his entire family. Like the Good Shepherd, he leads the
sheep to nourish in green and abundant pastures.
FATHER’S LOVE FOR HIS VOCATION AND SPOUSE.
Once a man has chosen the vocation of holy matrimony, then his hierarchy of
values must be crystal clear: God first, wife or spouse second, and then the
children that come third. If this order is subverted then there will surface
family problems which could lead to eventual separations. On the wedding day the husband and well as
wife make the solemn promise to be faithful to each other: in good times as
well as bad, in health as well as in sickness, in riches as well as in poverty,
until death do they part. Actually the father that does not manifest this
preferential love towards his wife will actually be damaging his children. The lack of love and concern not given to the
wife and mother is a depriving of the children of true love. Children easily pick up the vibes when there
is tension, lack of communication, lack of love and warmth between their
parents. It is sensed easy and the silence—due to lack of communication—can so
to speak be cut with a knife! Therefore,
a true and authentic father must be constantly examining his relationship with
his wife and constantly strive to overcome obstacles and be constant in
striving to live out the last and greatest of the Commandments of Jesus: “Love one another as I have loved you!”
FATHER MUST LOVE HIS CHILDREN. Then what necessarily flows, in the heart of
a father, after he has experienced the love of God the Father, has loved his
wife with a true and authentic and pure love, will be an outpouring of love for
the children that God has given to him.
This love will manifest itself in a series of concrete actions and attitudes,
OPENNESS TO LIFE. A true father cannot fall into and swallow
the all-too prevalent contraceptive mentality.
The contraceptive mentality says no to life and at the same time says no
to God who is the author of all life. God is life and the author and promoter
of life, both natural and supernatural!
OPENNESS TO SUPERNATURAL LIFE. Once the father has a child born to him he
should desire to have the child baptized as soon as possible so that this child
can be a son/daughter of God. Through Baptism all have the right to inherit the
Kingdom of Heaven.
PRAYER. A true father should be a man of prayer, in
three different dimensions with respect to his children. The Father should pray for his children, teach
them to pray and pray with them—these three dimensions are essential!
PRIEST OF THE FAMILY. A true father should be the “Priest of the
family”. What does this mean in concrete?
Simply this: he should bring his children and family to Church for the reception
of the Sacraments. He should be very
vigilant and attentive that his family receive the Sacraments as often as
possible and as fervently as possible. At the end of the day, the father should
bless his little flock before they retire every night. Even the use of holy
water is highly recommended! Indeed a
father can and should bless his family. This grace flows from the Sacrament of
DEFEND HIS CHILDREN. Indeed a true
father should be likened to a Good Shepherd who is constantly on guard to watch
over the sheep of his flock. (Jn. 10:1-18) Dangerous and ravenous wolves
pervade the whole world. A good father should know where these hungry and
blood-thirsty wolves are hidden so as to prevent them from attacking the flock.
Today more than ever a good father should be aware of the constant danger of
the wolves that can enter the homes and hearts of their children though the
electronics media, most especially through the wolf of pornography!
FATHER’S LOVE FOR THE HEAVENLY
MOTHER. Not only must a father
experience the presence, warmth, firmness and tenderness of the Heavenly
Father, but he should also experience in a very profound manner the tenderness
of the Heavenly Mother, Mary most holy. Mary is the Mother of God, the Mother
of the Church, the Mother of the family, but also our tender and loving
Mother. For this reason St Therese of
Lisieux stated: “Our Lady indeed is
Queen but she is more Mother than she
is Queen.” In his typical brilliant and
effusive as well as anointed expression Saint Alphonsus asserted with respect
to Mary as Mother the following: “If we
were to put all of the love of all of the mothers of all times and all places
together, past, present and future, the love that Our Lady has towards each and
everyone one of us individually as Mother is much greater.” How unfathomable the abyss of love and
tenderness that Our Lady has for you and me as well as all fathers. A father that truly experiences this love of
Mother Mary for him then this outpouring of love will be experienced on his
family members like a torrential downfall of graces! May Our Lady, the full of
grace, bless all of the fathers of the world!
In conclusion, let us strive with all
of the energy in our minds, hearts and souls to foster true FATHERHOOD. The future of the family, the society, the
culture, the country as well as the world at large depends upon the formation
of holy, happy, wholesome and heroic fathers. May Good St. Joseph pray for men,
workers and fathers so that they will lead their families to the eternal
embrace of the heavenly Father. Amen