The Blessing of True Fatherhood

“I believe that what we become depends
on what our fathers teach us at odd moments,
when they aren’t trying to teach us.
We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”

-Umberto Eco

Today, we celebrate Father’s Day. On this day, we recognize all of men who have been blessed with the gift of children. We celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, because the task of being a parent is an important one, to say the least. It is the responsibility of parents to form their children in what is right and wrong, to educate them on the basics of this world, to prepare them to go out into the world. Without our parents, our lives would be greatly lacking, for we would be lost. Our parents have gained many years of experience, knowledge, and wisdom, all of which they desire to pass on to us, their children.

However, there are still things that we must learn for ourselves. We will fall; we will fail. Our parents can only protect us for so long. Allowing us to get hurt and to experience failure can be one of the hardest things they can do – I can only imagine. FatherhoodWe know how much it sucks to trip, to fall, to screw up. Imagine having to stand by and watch your children do that. I’m sure many of us have had to watch many of our friends spiral out and screw up. At times like those, our parents realize that is better to let us experience failure, to learn from our own mistakes. If we never got hurt, we would never have any motivation to change. When we fall down, we recognize the need to get up higher than we were before. Our parents help us do that, by making that sacrifice for us, their children. And for all of the sacrifices they makes, these two days are a small way for us to show how much we appreciate all that they have done for us.

I remember when I was younger, I used to complain about how there was no ‘Children’s Day.’ There’s a Mother’s Day, and a Father’s Day. There should be a Children’s Day! I’m sure that most children experience those thoughts. [Or at least I tell myself that to make me feel better.] However, it would be unjust to think that children deserve a Children’s Day. My parents said this when I was younger, but I never really understood it: There is no Children’s Day, because everyday is Children’s Day. When you think about it, that should truly be the case. Parents go everyday making sacrifice after sacrifice for their children. They rarely get thanked for all that they do, nor should they necessarily expect it. They don’t do it for the thanks; they do it because their children deserve it, by nature of their existence. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are thus those two days out of the year when the children show their parents how appreciative they are.

Father’s Day is a truly special day. It is a day when we show our fathers how much we appreciate everything they have done for us. We remember our fathers who have finished forming us and have gone up to the Lord. We recognize those still with us. Most importantly, I see it as an opportunity for fathers to reflect on how well they are doing as fathers. Not being a father myself, I cannot exactly speak from experience, but I do understand that the earthly fatherhood of a dad is called to reflect the heavenly fatherhood of God the Father. Fatherhood means sacrifice. It means forming one’s family in the ways of truth. It means leading them to beauty and goodness. It means laying down one’s life for one’s wife, just as Christ sacrificed for the Church. I realize that it is a very cheesy movie (like most Christian movies), but the movie Courageous has a scene in which the fathers make a resolution before God and their families, to be the best fathers they can be. I think that this example is a good one to follow for all fathers who desire to seek to be the best fathers they can be.

There are a lot of imperfect examples of fatherhood out in the world today. If we ourselves were raised by imperfect fathers, it can be difficult to understand God above as Father, for we have a distorted understanding of fatherhood. However, wherever we see our own fathers coming up short, we can know that the Lord possesses all virtue (for He is Goodness Itself) perfectly. He is there for us perfectly. The Lord loved us and continues to love us into existence. We thank the Lord for His love. We also thank the Lord for our earthly fathers, who seek to reflect the perfect light of fatherhood that has been revealed by the Godhead Himself.

To all Mothers and Fathers out there, thank you for all you do.

Dad, Happy Father’s Day! Thank you for all you do.

“Abba is not Hebrew, the language of liturgy,
but Aramaic, the language of home and everyday life…
We need to be wary of the suggestion…
that the correct translation of Abba is ‘Daddy.’
Abba is the intimate word of a family circle
where that obedient reverence was at the heart of the relationship,
whereas Daddy is the familiar word of a family circle
from which all thoughts of reverence and obedience have largely disappeared…
The best English translation of Abba is simply ‘Dear Father.”

-Thomas Allan Smail

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Duc In Altum

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