Note: When migrating my blog over from Lifeisaprayer.com, I dug up a number of unpublished posts that I had completely forgotten about; this was one such post that I had written just prior to the birth of our first child (who is now three, and reminds us of the fact at least twice per hour—me: "How did you know how to do [some incredible new skill]?" - him: "Becawse I'm thWEEEE!"). I originally wrote this post in November of 2012, but am finally publishing it in 2016!
In the past few months, I've had much occasion to think over the words of the Our Father. Specifically, I've been thinking a lot about the relationship of a father and his children, and the love of a father.
In the Our Father, we hear of some of the traits of fatherly love:
- Thy will be done
The father is an important lynchpin in a family—a father is supposed to be a good role model and leader for the rest of the family, and just like we should do God's will without question (since we know it's what will be best for us), a child should do his father's will not because of a blind fear of the father, but because he knows that doing the father's will results in the child's true happiness.
- on earth as it is in Heaven
All fathers must strive to know God's will in their own lives before they can pass on true love and wisdom to their children. Nemo dat quod non habet—"you can't give what you don't have". An earthly father must help his family become a bit like the Heavenly family that is created by the unity of all the saints and angels with God in the most sacred and united family, the Holy Trinity.
- Give us this day our daily bread
Obviously, not every father is the 'breadwinner' in terms of working a full time job while the wife stays at home. However, every father is called to give everything of himself—as Jesus did on the cross—to feed, shelter, clothe, and strengthen his family. It need not be a literal 'bread' that the father provides.
- Forgive us our trespasses
The father must be a truly forgiving man. He knows right and wrong, and instills this knowledge in his children, but he is not a malevolent dictator, coming down with an iron fist. He is a generous protector, who is quick to forgive his children for the many small things they do wrong. And his forgiveness is not weak and dismissive, but strong and 'character building'. He also seeks forgiveness when necessary, because he knows he is not perfect. (And his wife helps him remember this if he forgets... :).
- Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
There's an excellent book I'm reading, Father, Family Protector, which highlights the importance of a strong, moral, and just father figure in every family. The father must fight off hatred, envy, gluttony, lust, and any other sin from entering his home. The home (even if it's just a small apartment) is a castle, needing bulwarks and drawbridges which can be used to defend the family inside from the many evils waiting to enter. A strong father knows that he needs to be strongly united with the Father, and with his son, Jesus Christ, in order to know evil when he sees it, and stamp it out.
I mention these things because, if you haven't figured it out yet, I am anxiously awaiting the birth of a new child, due in less than two months! I have a long road ahead of me, and I know that I'll never be prepared for the trials and tribulations—and excesses of joy!—that awaits me as a father.
Please pray for me, my wife, and my baby as we approach the date when the baby will peek out into the wide world and begin an awesome journey.