Dear Family in Christ,
On behalf of Father Michael, I’d like to express our love and appreciation for all of you fathers in our parish family. We pray that you are able to spend time with your loved ones, and that you know how appreciated and essential you are to all of us at Our Lady of the Scapular. Additionally, Father Michael and I have the great honour of being your spiritual fathers. While this is a great privilege, it is also a challenge- mostly due to our own shortcomings. At any rate, we are grateful to God for entrusting to our care such beautiful souls, and pray for the grace to be good, holy fathers.
While we celebrate fatherhood, we see forces at work in our world who seem intent on erasing the difference between men and women, and the uniqueness of fatherhood and motherhood. We know the Evil One is intent on destroying the family. It seems like he does this by attacking fathers, and young men who would become fathers. Perhaps now more than ever, God is calling His Church to confront this attack.
Fatherhood matters because God has revealed Himself to be our Father, and every earthly father is only called one to the degree to which he conforms his heart to God’s. It has been said that our mothers love us for the person we are, and our fathers love us for the person we could be. Of course, there are overlaps and caveats to this, but it remains true: the beauty of a father’s love is that he recognizes the potential in his child, and through love and discipline calls forth that potential until it is fully realised. We know that, like a mother, God loves us for who we are. At the same time, like a Father, He knows that we were made for greatness, and His love calls us to that greatness- which is nothing other than sainthood.
I’d like to speak a word of comfort to the many who have been wounded by their experience of fatherhood- whether these be our own shortcomings as fathers, or the shortcomings of our own fathers, or even a priest. God is The Perfect Father, and in His love, all of our own shortcomings and wounds are an invitation to turn to Him, for Him to make up for what is lacking, and to let Him be Our Father.
On this 11th Sunday in Ordinary time, as we celebrate earthly fatherhood, let us pray for all fathers; that we would know the love of God, our Heavenly Father, and despite our shortcomings, be images of His love to those entrusted to our fatherly care.