Fathers’ Day is a wonderful day to celebrate those persons who fulfilled the wonderful, paternal role in our lives as our biological and spiritual fathers. What makes a male human being a man and a father?
A father is faithful: to God, to our mother, and to his children (these two words even sound similar, at least in English).
When a man is faithful to his vocation, to his calling from God, then he has a singular love and lives only for that love. Everything a faithful man does must be essentially oriented to his vocation to give himself and serve his one love, that is, God, wife, and family—a triune object of true paternal love. When a father works, he is serving his love; when he eats and rests, it is to have the energy to work for and serve his love; when he enjoys a celebration it is always so that his singular, triune love, may enjoy his love and the fruit of his labor for them.
A father provides, making sure the family, especially his children, have their material and spiritual needs met. Many fathers work two or even three jobs in order to provide for their families.
Providing also means education, teaching his children the knowledge, skill, and virtues it takes so that each child may fulfill their God-given vocation. This is why many fathers work extra hard to be able to send their children to Catholic schools, to provide the fullness of education of mind and soul.
A father is in the world, which is often predatory on the weak and marginalized, so he tries to provide a home that is safe for his triune love. He makes whatever sacrifice needed to protect his family from dangers.
Today, a good father is particularly protective of his children’s media and Internet use, as these pose such an easy way for predators to take advantage of his wife and kids. He does this not only my making sure there are good filters and protections on all devices, but by also providing healthy alternatives, such as reading, family time (such as board games, etc.), sports, and hobbies.
A father is particularly attuned to the negative influences on his families, whether through unhealthy relationships or school programs that can undermine the family values he seeks to cultivate—think of the public schools sex-ed and anti-religious programs, and the new LBGT “Inclusive Curriculum,” etc. that can expose his innocent children to harmful, exploitative, and even pornographic materials. A good father must be ready to lay down his life for his flock of children (cf. John 10:11-18).
Ultimately, a good father prepares his child for mission, to go out into the world—after proper preparation—sending them forth with the confidence for each to find his place in the world of work, to find a good spouse, and to exercise his own vocation as father or mother of a
family. God the Father did this with his own Son; the Son of God did this with his apostles; good fathers do this with their children.
Thank you, father, and may you be father God calls you to be.