Saturday, 15 March 2008

The beauty of Fatherhood

With great joy we keep the Feast today of St Joseph, the great model of manhood for humanity and for the Church. St Joseph is the greatest model of manhood and of fatherhood for he embraced all the gifts and qualities which God desired for him. Its is here, in his openness to God's plan for him, for his life and for his personality that we see a man embracing the whole truth about spiritual fatherhood - something which God desires all men to have - the mission to create and form goodness in the world. And he embraces also the second stage of fatherhood given to many men, that of becoming a parent. Here we see St Joseph striving, like God, for his family and being a real guardian of his son's soul. What a great model of manhood and fatherhood, and how dis-similar St Joseph is to secular models. John Eldridge in his insightful book about men - "Wild at heart" - speaks about how false are the secular models of manhood. He cites two important examples: John Wayne (at least, the characters he plays) and James Bond. Both these represent men who are utterly sufficient in themselves; they do not need any help, they do not need God. Whereas, every man in fact needs to be plugged into God, who alone can lead him to the full stature of his personality. How great it was for the whole world to see spiritual fatherhood in operation in the life of JPII, and again in B16, the world's "grandfather". And how great it is when, in our parishes, we see fathers at Mass with their children or spending time with them; whenever we see fatherhood in action.
When the qualities of God are seen in men, then we can see more clearly the beauty of God's plan and the irreplaceable role of the father in society.

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