On Father’s Day we celebrate and we pray for all our Dads; the Fathers who are saints, the ones who are on their way, and the ones who struggle every day.
The moment your child is conceived you become a Father. What matters after that moment, is when you become a Dad. When you become a man who understands what this profound responsibility means. Whether you prepared for fatherhood, or found your way to it through poor decisions… what will you do now? Embracing your fatherhood and becoming a good Dad doesn’t mean you’ll be a perfect Dad right away and it doesn’t mean that you’ll understand what a perfect Dad is, right away. But it does mean that you commit to becoming what your child (ren) needs and deserves… and what God expects and will help you become.
Thankfully you will have your own God the Father to help you understand, grow and become someone your children can and will celebrate on Father’s Day. Thankfully, you will have good examples in the fathers, grandfathers, uncles and spiritual fathers who will guide you, teach you and challenge you. Some men are, by grace, very ready to for this profoundly important role. Some men are far from ready. But all men have the opportunity to receive what they need and to be formed. If you’re a father, but you have deep regrets or you’re still struggling… there’s hope.
God, if you’re open and if you ask, if you listen and if you’re humble, God will be there for you. God is deeply interested in your becoming a great Dad. It is you who will image Him to your children through your words and actions. It is you who will reveal the heart of THE FATHER as you embrace, discipline, teach, protect, provide, empower and especially lead your children in faith.
I think there are few times in life that demonstrate real and profound change in a person’s life than a conversion sparked by a real encounter with God. When a man becomes a father with his first child. At that moment, when becoming a father is truly recognized, it’s like finding yourself at the threshold of a momentous change and entering into a whole new world. When your child is born, it’s a moment of undeniable grace, hearts bursting with love, wonder and awe. It’s an encounter with God and a call to embrace a call to ever deeper transformation and relationship with God the Father, His SON and the Holy Spirit of love between them.
The Saints of Fatherhood, humbly and happily pass over the threshold and become more like Christ; protectors of the truth, teachers of moral character, stable, strong, loving and merciful. They learn what it means to calm a storm, and not to be creators of storms in the lives of others. They learn what it means to serve the needs of others, and not demand that others serve them. They learn the importance of wisdom over wisecracks and sacrifice over selfishness. They listen to God the Father. Faith is their stronghold; Christ is their model.
Your children deserve the best. May God help all men to receive the virtues and the grace to become the men God calls us to be!
Fr. Blair Gaynes has been in the Diocese since 2008.