Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father’s Day

Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

(Ephesians 6:1-4)

After St. Paul explains that God designed the husband and wife relationship to be a pattern of the relationship of Christ and the Church, then he further explains how this extends to each and every person as children who have been blessed by God to be ruled over by parents.

Obey your parents in the Lord.

Each and every person after the first couple have been brought into existence by God through parents. Parents are God’s gift of life to the world through whom we each receive the life that God gives and through whom we each receive the nurture and care by which we grow to be come adults who live under God’s blessing in this world. Thus we are commanded to obey our parents in the Lord.

This means that in every way that our parents do not counter what God has ordained as right and good, we are to obey. With this commandment the promise is given that obedience to our parents keeps us from wandering from their protection and guidance so that we live lives that are full of goodness and longevity.

The word that is used for honor also means to prize or treasure. We are to count our parents as a treasure from heaven, a blessing from God Most High. This is especially true of our fathers, through whom God keeps the family as one.

The fathers stand as God’s foremost representatives on earth. As a husband draws near to his wife in love, God unites them and blesses them with children. These children are entrusted to their oversight, to nurture and care for them. Most importantly of all, the fathers are entrusted with the teaching of the children in the Lord. The fathers are given the authority of God, to rule over the family in love.

Often Christian fathers seek to learn how to be good fathers. Often they torture themselves in search of the meaning of true fatherhood. But St. Paul declares that true fatherhood is very easy to understand. To know and understand how to be a true father is as simple as looking to Our Father which art in heaven. If earthly fathers examine themselves so as to be certain of their place in God’s Holy Communion, then they also know the love of God in their lives so as to bestow God’s love to their wives and children.

It really is that easy. Love truly is the answer. This is not the fairy tale love that elevates emotional attachment as that which conquers all. This the love that originates with God and is made complete in His Holy Communion. After all, what greater gift can any father give than the gift of the certainty of everlasting life in God’s Holy Communion of everlasting peace and joy? Since God is the source of every good and perfect gift, a true father will direct his wife and children always to the fear and love of God. Then, all things shall be theirs. What else that a father can do can even come close to this?

Truly, all good things that a father will desire to do for his family will be found in God’s love and flow from His love.

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