Monday, June 13, 2016
Fathers as Missionaries of Mercy
Fathers of families are
"the great adventurers
of the modern world."
Merciful fathers have become so because they have been on the receiving end of the Father's mercy. They have dared to darken the door of a confessional--making the Sacrament of Mercy a regular resource in their spiritual tool boxes.
Merciful fathers know that they have been forgiven much, hence they show much love. They are patient because they have borne the weight of their own impatience; they are kind because they have seen the damage wrought by their own unkindness.
Merciful fathers have short memories because they know that the Father of Mercies does not hold a grudge. They strive to live in the flow of divine grace--receive; share; repeat--because they know that the ambivalent alternative is not a neutral path, but is a dangerous meandering on the wide road of destruction.
Whether or not the Father's love was reflected through their own earthly fathers as perfectly as they would have liked, today's merciful fathers have allowed themselves to be reformed by the steady hand of the Wounded Healer. They have even grown to look upon their own fathers with the face of mercy.
Merciful fathers know what it is like to be carried safely home on the shoulder of a friend or a brother--be it physically or spiritually, literally or metaphorically. Therefore, they are more than happy to lift up those they meet. Especially those the world deems "undeserving" or "unfit" or "unwanted."
As the modern world's great adventurers, fathers of families dare to share, not hoard, a love of life. They choose to radiate, not restrict, authentic compassion. They decide to live each day more for others than for self.
It's the least they can do, in response to the Father whom they have not yet seen face to face, but who has claimed them as sons forever.
P.S. For a refresher on resources and suggestions for finishing the Jubilee Year of Mercy on a strong note, check out this array of ideas from the USCCB.