Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I once heard a story on the radio about a group of volunteers at a local prison. The volunteers thought it would be a good idea to offer Mother’s Day cards to the inmates and include a stamp so that the cards could be mailed. The response was overwhelming. The group ran out of cards and had to purchase more.
Since the event was so successful, the volunteers decided to do it again for Father’s Day.
Not one of the men sent a card to his father.
Whether this story is true or not, it illustrates that being a father does not take a moment; it takes a lifetime. There are men who have multiple children from multiple partners, men who abandon their families, men who do not pay child support, men who abuse their children, or men who teach their children to do drugs or steal. These men are fathers only for a moment.
Then there are men who raise their children to lead productive lives, who share the good times and the bad, who wipe away their tears and tuck them in bed at night, men who, although no longer with the mother of their children, support them financially and emotionally, or men who raise other men’s children as their own. These men are fathers for a lifetime.
We are all children of God. God loves us in the same way that a father loves his children. Everything good about being a father we see in God. He sustains and protects us, guides, and encourages us. He is gentle and strong at the same time.
God is patient and just. He lets us go when we wander far from his love and he welcomes us back when we find him again. He forgives and heals. He doesn’t love one more than another. “God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him” (1 John 4:16b).
Children need fathers just as much as they need mothers. But children see their fathers as an image of God the Father. Will your children see God as an evil tyrant or emotionally detached? Will they know him as compassionate and caring?
God has called fathers to an amazing vocation. He has shared with you his most wonderful gift. Love your children, take care of them, guide them and provide a secure and loving atmosphere where they can grow to appreciate how unique and important they are. Show them through your example how much God loves them.
I want to express my gratitude to those fathers for a lifetime. Thank you for nurturing your children. To the fathers for a moment, I ask that you remember how God has loved and cared for you; I encourage you to become role models for your children.
May God continue to bless and guide all fathers. Happy Father’s Day!
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Arthur N. Tafoya
* Catholic News Agency columns are opinion and do not necessarily express the perspective of the agency.