Earlier today, Pope Francis spoke about the role of fathers in their children’s lives in his General Audience address for the Feast of St. Joseph. Even if you’re not a dad, I urge you to read it and spend some time meditating upon it. Not only does it hold excellent advice for dads, it also reminds all of us of the importance of our own fathers.
“Dear brothers and sisters, Saint Joseph’s mission is certainly unique and unrepeatable, because Jesus is absolutely unique,” the Holy Father said. “And yet, in his taking care of Jesus, educating him to grow in age, wisdom and grace he is a model for every educator, in particular for every father. Saint Joseph is the model of the educator and of the daddy, of the father. Therefore, I entrust to his protection all parents, priests – who are Fathers – and those who have an educational task in the Church and in society. In a special way, I would like to greet today, Day of the Father, all parents, all daddies: I greet you from my heart!”
Yes, St. Joseph is the model for every educator in the way he took care of Jesus and helped him to grow in age, wisdom, and grace. That’s what all fathers do for their children and in a similar way, what all educators must do for their fledglings.
Directly addressing the “daddies” in the crowd, Pope Francis said, “I ask for you the grace to be always very close to your children, letting them grow but being close to them, close to them! They are in need of you, of your presence, of your closeness, of your love. Be for them like Saint Joseph: guardians of their growth in age, wisdom and grace. Guardians of their path; educators, and walk with them. And with this closeness you will be true educators.”
Fathers, your children are in need of your presence, closeness, and love regardless of how old they are!! You will never stop being their father any more than they will stop being your children. Parenthood is a forever thing. You might adjust your approach as they move through their adult years, but you should never change your commitment to them through your fatherly heart.
So, too, we should think of our own fathers on this day – whether we think they were “good” or “bad” dads – because every father deserves respect as a child of God, gratitude for what he was and does accomplish in this world, and prayers for his well-being in body and soul.
Here’s the link to Pope Francis’ address. Read it, digest it, pray about it, and then ask St. Joseph’s intercession for the needs of all dads everywhere.