The importance of fatherhood cannot be overstated. Fatherhood is not only about providing for the material needs of a family, it’s also about providing the emotional, physical and spiritual stability that is necessary for the family to be the domestic church, which is God’s plan for our marriages. When we began our lives together as husband and wife, we may not have given much thought to the idea of being a domestic church, nevertheless, in the sacrament of matrimony, the man and woman receive the grace necessary to discover that it is only in their relationship with God can they reach their potential for happiness and wholeness to provide the safe, secure environment the family is meant to be.
Everything begins with God the Father who is the source of all love and all that is good. It is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit who will provide what we in our humanity are unable to provide.
One of the wonderful attributes of Almighty God is his patience. “May the God of patience and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus,” (Ro 15:5.) Although he longs for us to come to him early in our life, he waits until we finally realize we can never be complete as individuals or as a family until he becomes our priority.
So, Fathers’ Day is first about God the Father and his great love for us, and then how we as men can become the fathers he intends us to be when we humbly ask for his help. “God opposes the proud but bestows favor on the humble,” (1 Pt. 5:5.). When we love God with all our mind, heart, soul and strength, he will pour his love into our hearts so that we can reach our potential in loving our spouse, our children and ourselves. It is our love for God that will enable us to place the needs of our family before our own needs. This love will help us be aware when our loved ones need some quality time, words of encouragement or maybe a hug. There are some things the family needs that only the father can give.
The most important things parents can provide for their children, are that they know without a doubt that their parents love each other, love them and love God. Praying together as family is the foundation for the domestic church.
“Yes, the civilization of love is possible; it is not a utopia. But it is only possible by a constant and ready reference to the “Father from whom all fatherhood and motherhood on earth is named,” from whom every human family comes.” —St. John Paul II
Lord, we thank you for this Fathers’ Day as we remember our own fathers and the sacrifices they made for us. Bless the fathers who are still with us and pour out your mercy upon those who have passed from this life to the next.
DEACON TOM FOX is co-director of the Pilgrim Center of Hope. Living Catholicism is a regular column of this Catholic evangelization apostolate which produces the annual Catholic Men’s Conference San Antonio. This column was published as our first installment of Living Catholicism, June 2016.