First and always to spiritual fatherhood, then possibly to biological fatherhood. That's ALL MEN: young, old, and in between, married and single. St. Escriva says it this way, "Don't let your life be sterile."
Original Sin Attempts to Abolish Fatherhood
The attack on fatherhood is not new and has been with us since "the beginning." John Paul II points outs that the effect of "[o]riginal sin, then, attempts to abolish fatherhood, destroying its rays which permeate the created world..." (Crossing the Threshold of Hope, p. 228). Our "modern" culture has a particular penchant for abolishing fatherhood. The radical feminists have used Karl Marx's philosophy and have amplified the attack. These attacks are responsible for much of the devastation in the Culture of Death.
Salvation Restores It
If the effects of original sin-the problem-attempt to abolish fatherhood, then salvation-the solution-should be about the restoration of fatherhood, and it is. Jesus reveals a new name for God, Abba or Papa. Jesus comes to reveal the Father's love for all. The "Our Father" prayer and the prodigal son parable are evidence of that love.
We Are Called To Live Out Fatherhood
Salvation, or this Love, must also be lived out. It too must affect fatherhood, and it does: according to Malachi, God will send Elijah before the day of the Lord to "turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers" (Mal. 3:23-4). Luke also ties Elijah to John the Baptist, who has the same mission regarding fathers (Lk 1:17). The Gospel is a Gospel of Fatherhood from beginning to end!
Fatherhood: Tons of Love and High Expectations
The Gospel of Fatherhood shows us his infinite love for us. We need to experience it as much a we can! It is a radical and unconditional love. But it is not "cheap grace"--with no demands. "So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Mt. 5:48); it costs everything, a daily death! "[T]ake up [your] cross daily and follow me" (Lk. 9:23). A good father has great love and high expectations for his children.
Dave McClow, M.Div., LCSW, LMFT Clinical Pastoral Counselor Pastoral Solutions Institute 250-357-6429 www.exceptionalmarriages.com
The Pastoral Solutions Institute is dedicated to building a Civilization of Love by helping Catholics find faithful answers to life's difficult family, marriage, and personal questions.