What an intimidating idea facing fatherhood is! When Jesus says, “Call no man father, for you have one Father in heaven” (cf. Matthew 23:9) He is testifying, in part, to the tremendous honor and burden that earthly fathers have. For God Himself has adopted “Father” imagery to describe His relationship with us. Consequently, earthly fathers, in their words and deeds, either proclaim the glory of God’s Fatherhood or damage the image and reputation of God. One of my friends has noted that the atheists he studies often have poor relationships with their fathers. It is hard to love God the Father if one has only known terrible fathers.
It is with a little fear and trembling then, as well as great joy, that I am pleased to share that God is calling me to the vocation of fatherhood by blessing Bethany and I with a child. Though this child has not yet left the womb, God knows him or her because He has fashioned the child in His image. (cf. Psalm 139:13) This child will enter a world that will teach many things of great value; the importance of love, tolerance, peace, environmental care and healthy living. Yet he or she will also enter a world that will try to take essential things away. This world already denies his/her humanity; though this will be restored to our child once it exits the womb. Then the real battle begins, battles over gender, faith, ‘ancient’ morality, doctrine, ritual, purity and hope. As his or her parents, we hope to raise a child of faith who will build their life upon the Rock. (Matthew 7:24-27)
We can’t do this alone; and so in the words of the Mass, ‘I ask blessed Mary ever-virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.’ (Roman Missal) We will not be perfect, but with God’s help, we will be good parents. Confident in the promises of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, we look forward to welcoming one more tiny human to our beautiful planet.
Deo gratias et ‘Kyrie eleison’!