6/17/12

Fathers Day Prayer 2012


Image by Willow Tree

At the end of all the Masses this weekend I'll invite the fathers present to stand and we'll pray over them these words from the Book of Blessings:

God our Father,
in your wisdom and love you made all things.
Bless these men,
that they may be strengthened as Christian fathers.

Let the example of their faith and love shine forth.
Grant that we, their sons and daughters,
may honor them always with a spirit of profound respect.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.
 
Clearly, what Fathers Day means depends on our relationship to fathers.

While we all have fathers, some are with us and some have died.

Some men are fathers, others want to be fathers
   and still others struggle with that dream not coming true.

Every mother has a unique relationship with the father of her children.

Some fathers have sons who are fathers themselves.

Some sons and daughters have good relationships with their dads
   while others, unfortunately, do not.

Some men are called "Father" but have no children of their own.

Some men are mourning the loss of a child who called them, "Dad."

Some fathers are honored today, some are ignored,
   some are unknown and, sadly, some are forgotten...

My own father was a good, loving, hard-working, faithful provider and protector of his family. But as I observe dads with their sons today, I see a kind of relationship I wish my father and I might have shared, a closeness that seemed to escape us in spite of the love I know he had for me and I for him. Times have changed and parenting roles are different than what I remember growing up - and I believe much of what I see is very good, indeed.

So, on Fathers Day weekend, here's a little advice from a man who has no children but who is called "Father" by many:

Dads, you can't too often tell your children how much you love them.
You can't too many times hug them or kiss them good night.
There's no limit on how many times
   you can take each of your children, individually,
      for a walk, a talk, a ride or an ice cream cone.
Make sure you call your children by name
   and have special names for each of them.
Be a father whose thoughts, words and deeds
   set a standard for his daughters and sons.
And if you have a boy, Dad, be sure he hears you call him son
   in a way that lets them know
      how happy and proud you are to be his father.
A son waits, even without knowing it,
   for his father's blessing on who he is and who he will become:
      find a thousand ways to give him that blessing.
And, Dads: make sure your children know that you're a man of faith
   who believes in the God Jesus called his Father.
Pray with your children at home: at table, at night before bed,
   when times are hard and when times are great.
Pray with your children at church on Sunday
   and share with them the place God has in your heart.

I believe a father's relationship with his children is one of the great untapped natural and spiritual resources of the universe!

There's love and power and blessing in the hearts of fathers, waiting to flood the hearts of families in every place and culture.

Too many dads come to the end of their lives wishing they'd done more of this or less of that, with and for their children.  Be a father who will look back on his life with thanks for how God's grace helped him to be a good and loving dad.

Be sure of this, Dads: your children want you to be the dad that you, in your heart of hearts, want to be for them.

Happy Father's Day!


 

     
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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, Austin. I (like you) knew my Dad loved me but wish I had a little different relationship with him. We also missed the closeness but I think it may have been just the times.

Happy Father's day, Father Fleming.

michelle said...

I did not have, really any, kind of relationship with my father-

he is still alive, but I do not have much of any contact with him-

it is complicated-

and much so that even I do not understand- and maybe never will-

I do have memories of going to church growing up...
but, much of those memories were of me, really alone-

my father was the one, as I remember, that took me to church-
but, still, I felt alone-

but, even though I am the only one in my family who has stayed with the Catholic faith, I am grateful that I have somehow stayed-
that I have been given the strength by God-
that I have been somehow given-
something- to stay, to keep trying- to keep trying to believe-

it is really hard sometimes-