Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Some Thoughts on Being a “Father”



Dear Parishioners,

When Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them to pray, the Sacred Scriptures tell us that He taught them the Our Father.  (Mt. 6: 9-13; Lk 11:2-4)  The Gospels record Jesus referring to God as Father over 175 times.  Jesus also revealed a certain relationship, privilege and intimacy with God the Father by His reference to God as Abba (Mk. 14:36).  There was a definite association that Jesus made between God, the Almighty Creator and the concept or image of Father.

With Father's Day upon us, I take a few moments to reflect on what it means to be a loving father.

Most likely we will process the concept of fatherhood through our own earthly fathers.  Hopefully, they are (were) wonderful, caring men who are (were) sincerely devoted to their wives and children.  Probably they had their flaws and imperfections.  Maybe they were not around as much as one would desire or may have been, in some instances, absent from one’s life altogether.  Sadly, some may have a difficulty relating to a father-figure at all, because their own fathers were abusive to some degree.  There are far too many possible scenarios to mention all of them here.

Yet, when it comes to an understanding of God as Father, I suggest thinking of God as the best, perfect or ideal father.  He’s the one without the flaws and imperfections, the one ever-present, who loves His children without limits or conditions.  He’s the Father that Jesus tried to help us know, understand and love.

The fathers among us need to strive to become a father more and more resembling the Heavenly Father that Jesus taught us about.  Fathers need to make every effort to love, cherish and honor their wives and children with an unconditional love and respect.  It’s far too common in today’s society for men to father a child biologically, and then not accept the many responsibilities that come from bringing that child into the world.  A good father is accountable for his actions.

A loving father needs to provide, to protect, to teach and to lead on both an earthly and spiritual level.  A child needs food, clothing, shelter, and an education, all of which a father can help provide.  However, a child also needs the love, compassion, forgiveness, and understanding that should come from a caring father.  A child should have a spiritual leader to look up to—a type of priest for the domestic church (family)—who can witness to the importance and relevance of God in one’s life by prayer, sacrifice and charitable example.

I think that St. Joseph is someone who fathers can look up to and pray to in the quest to become a better, more-perfect father.  Faced with the many challenges that came with caring for Jesus, Joseph is seen in the Scriptures as righteous—a devout observer of the Mosaic Law. (Mt. 1:19)  He was entrusted by God the Father to care for His Son Jesus as a foster-father.  Prayers for his intercession seem quite essential when taking on the responsibility of father.

My prayers are with all those who are addressed as father on this Father’s Day!  Thanks for the many sacrifices that you make for your wife and children.  

As one who is addressed as “Father,” and who is called to be the spiritual leader of my Church family, I also realize many of the duties and obligations that come with being a father!  It’s not always an easy task, but it is certainly one that I have come to love and cherish more each day.
 
Fr. Ed Namiotka

Pastor


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