God the Father, father, fathers, and fatherhood

Cima_da_Conegliano,_God_the_FatherMuch of what we understand about God the Father is given to us by Jesus.

In the parable of the Prodigal Son, we meet the Merciful and Prodigal Father. When Jesus says ‘The Father and I are One,’ we understand that Jesus reveals the Father. In all of His Mercy and Truth, Jesus is the perfect revelation of God the Father. Yet, in the Garden of Gethsemane, and on the Cross, we also meet the Father who will go the full length to save us. And in mystery, we get a sneak peak at the silence of the Father at work when Jesus cried from the Cross ‘Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani,’ seemingly ignored, only to be Risen three days later. This reveals the Father’s Mysterious ways of answering prayers in His Perfect Time. The Father is also revealed in the diversity, beauty, majesty, and order of His Creation.

But what best reveals the Father is what he has given His children: His Son and His Holy Spirit.

All of us have been blessed with an earthly dad. Some of our dads are heroes and exemplars of outstanding Catholic manhood. Some of them have fallen short. But all of our earthly, blood-related fathers should get our love for the simple reason that they are our father. God the Father may not have been best exemplified in our father, but Jesus has remedied that through His Cross and Resurrection, and we must return that love through respect for our father. My father and I have not always gotten along, but I pray that he has a good day today.

Many of us who have grown up without an earthly, blood related father have, nonetheless, been blessed by the heavenly Father with spiritual fathers on earth. Some of them have been uncles or coaches, teachers or friends, deacons or holy men, who have fathered us in compassion, wisdom, and respect. Some fathers, our priests, have given us fatherly grace in confession, in spiritual direction, in homilies, and in the Most Holy Eucharist. I pray that God the Father will bless this day for all of our spiritual fathers.

What about our fatherhood? God the Father has provided Jesus Christ so that a wounded man like myself can provide for my daughter, and a few spiritual children in my life, even through my weakness. As I father my child, and ‘children’ in a spiritual sense, I am more understanding of my earthly fathers weakness, and the weaknesses of my spiritual fathers, and ask God the Father for forgiveness in my rash Judgments. As I love my daughter, and appreciate  the gift of ‘spiritual children,’ I praise God the Father for the father, and fathers, in my life.

I pray this day, I acknowledge them somehow.

Happy Fathers Day.

God bless!

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