Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

March 18, 2009

On Fatherhood

So tomorrow is St. Joseph's day, and I've already posted on the person of Joseph, but I wanted to take some time to consider fatherhood. Who better to reveal human fatherhood than St. Joseph? I was just at a lecture given a priest on the gift of child-like faith and how it has been lost in post-modern secular society. He said what we primarily must recover is not just the sense of God as our Creator--but more importantly the sense of God as our Father, our loving Father. We might take for granted the words of Christ when He gave us the prayer the Our Father, but in fact, it was a very radical form of prayer to God. Israel would not even utter the name of God, and yet Christ tells us to invoke Him as our Father.

Why is this fatherhood so important and crucial to our time? Catholic psychologist Paul Vitz contends that nearly 9 times out of 10, those who subscribe to atheism had either absent fathers or bad relationships with their fathers. Our fathers encourage us, they protect us, they educate us, and they discipline us. But most importantly: they reflect God to us--they model His Fatherhood. (Just an aside-I don't know about you ladies, but I am such a daddy's girl and I love it! Yesterday, I picked up a book on Edith Stein that my father gave me and he wrote me a little not inside, telling me to pray to her to ask her intercession in my academic pursuits, as she was herself a doctoral student. It made me so happy to find that note; my father really instilled in me a devotion to her. I think sometimes fathers know their children better than the children know themselves). Our fathers are a blessing to us, and we should really take time to assess our relationship with our fathers and those relationships reflect ours with God.

There is one other event that got me thinking about fatherhood. Recently, Pope Benedict XVI declared June 19, 2009 to June 19, 2010 a year for priests. I rejoiced!! (By the way, have I mentioned yet how much I LOVE THE POPE?) I love priests! It might sound simple, but I really do. I am so grateful for the great gift of our priests. Today, I asked God to increase their love, to give them courage and bravery, and to give them His consolations. Not only has God given us our earthly, biological fathers - but He also has given us spiritual fathers in priests, the ones who stand in the very person of Christ to help us attain our salvation. Our God is Our Father indeed. He is generous, He knows our needs, and He provides everything we need to know Him--especially through our fathers-whether they be our earthly fathers or our priests. When I think about this, it brings to mind the words of the Psalmist in Psalm 8 proclaiming, "O Lord our Lord, how admirable is thy name in the whole earth! For thy magnificence is elevated above the heavens."


Julian said...

I am SO grateful to you for these three posts on St. Joseph, Edith. SO grateful. I can't tell you how grace-filled reading them was for me.

I, too, am abundantly blessed with a strong relationship with my father. I should be invoking St. Joseph more not only for my husband, but for my father, and for my many "spiritual" fathers.

Thank you a million, my sister!

Edith Magdalene said...

You're welcome!! Love you!

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