‘Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.’ Jesus gave us a wonderful gift: he brought God into the center of our lives and taught us that he is like a loving father. Today is Fathers Day. It is a good time to remember that each and every one of us — male and female alike — is called to mirror the fatherhood of God.
It is a great joy for me as a deacon to baptize a child. The joy of administering the sacrament is magnified for me by the fact that I am a father myself. Wanda and I have been blessed to raise four wonderful children; and I know — first hand — the joys and responsibilities of being a parent.
The greatest responsibility of a parental father is to mirror the unconditional love of our heavenly Father. Fathers have been given a very special mission in life: We are called to teach our children that God is unconditional love.
And we carry out this mission, we teach that lesson, not with books, not even necessarily with words; we teach it by loving our children, unconditionally, without strings, no matter what.
God loves us in a personal and unconditional way. The seed of that love is inside of each of us. And that seed is watered to grow into a beautiful flower by the love we receive from our parents.
But that flower can still grow even in the absence of parental love, even in the presence of abuse, or abandonment, or neglect. That flower can still grow even in the harshest conditions; because that seed is innately watered by God’s grace.
That flower blooms in our lives when we make the transition from receiver to giver. When we say ‘yes’ to the presence of God’s love in our life, and when we choose to share that love with others.
I have known people who have suffered greatly because they did not experience the love of a parental father. But I believe we have a choice: we can spend decades in depression over what we missed as a child, or we can cross over the bridge, make the transition from receiver to giver and become a father for others.
We can become a father for others not only in a parental way. We can be a father to our children, but we can also be a father to our workers, our students, our patients, our clients, our parishioners, our friends, to all those with whom we interact.
This type of father is neither male nor female; it is the bearer of unconditional love, it is the mirror of our heavenly Father.
God's love comes alive in our world when we let it flow through us to others. So this Fathers Day let us thank our heavenly Father for our blessings. Let us reach out to our parental fathers, living and deceased, with love and compassion, and if need be, forgiveness. And let us make Our Father who art in heaven visible here on earth through the love that we share with others.
Readers of this blog might enjoy these books by Deacon Lex. Both are available on Amazon.com:
Just to Follow My Friend: Experiencing God’s Presence in Everyday Life
The Gospel of You, The Gospel of Me: Making Christ Present in Everyday Life
Synchronicity as the Work of the Holy Spirit: Jungian Insights for Spiritual Direction and Pastoral Ministryhttp://www.amazon.com/Synchronicity-Work-Holy-Spirit-Spiritual/dp/1463518781/