Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J.
There is not only a great similarity but also an intimate bond between the Fatherhood of God and the fatherhood of man. Both are providers. While our heavenly Father provides for all of the future and earthly father provides for that little piece of the future that is of such intimate concern to those given to his care.
It takes great courage for a man to assume the responsibility of fatherhood; to be responsible for the care and nourishment this new life during its long progress to adulthood; to see to its physical and intellectual development and to foster the mysterious unfolding of its moral character.
But fatherhood also richly repays a man for the burdens and responsibilities it imposes. There is the joy of the father in the strength, beauty and sanctity of his children. The absolute, unquestioning confidence, the unshakeable faith of a child burrows it way deep into the heart of the father to allow him a glimpse of what such confidence and faith must do to the heart of God.
Yet, there is no one so misjudged as a father. And there are few judges more severe than his own children. To the very young, he has an air of indifference, of preoccupation, of impatience. They are living in the present while he is straining every faculty in the crucial struggle with the future; a future crowded with possible moral catastrophes to his children more than with dangers of starvation, meager comfort or vanishing luxury.
The older children submit him to constant comparison with his competitors who enter their field of acquaintance. Too often the rule of thumb by which they judge is a purely material one. If his success in terms of clothes, houses and cars has been a mediocre one he can thank God for his preoccupation with the future which blinds him to their pity and silent condemnation.
Our heavenly Father has not escaped this general misjudgment of fathers. The extremely young, engrossed in the toys of the present, find him aloof, indifferent and preoccupied. Why does he insist upon looking ahead, providing for the long future of eternity instead of drying our tears, repairing our toys and taking us into His lap and comforting us?
The older children have looked around a bit and are complacent in the naïve sophistication which that superficial view has given them. From their superior heights they pass judgment, pitying Him, condemning Him and even denying that he is a Father.
But the rough contacts with life will eventually scratch the glittering surface of that sophistication. The humiliation of failure will cut down the height of the judgment seat and bitter experience may teach them to distinguish between the passing tinsel and bauble and the real values of life. Then in their maturity they will pass a saner judgment on their heavenly Father. Fortunately for us, He is never beyond the reach of our apologies, never out of range of our thanks.
To suggest that this is a Fatherless world is to escape into chaos without order and without meaning; to insist that the toys of life are life’s essentials; to be at war with God and self, a war that breeds hate and despair.
Thank God such a Fatherless world is only the imagined world of distorted minds. In reality, we live in the home of a loving, provident Father. We live in a home where even failure, misfortune, discouragement, sickness and sin itself has a meaning. Just as success, praise, high position, good fortune and health, they are only steps in a divine plan, perhaps no more significant than their opposites. Within this home there is serenity, courage, peace and the freedom of the children of God.
“Unless you come as little children you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
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