Padre Paul’s Ponderings: Like Saint Joseph, Fathers Quietly Do so Much

Besides being the patron saint of fathers, Joseph has many other patronages as well.

Countless churches are named after him. And I think it’s safe to say if asked “who was

Saint Joseph” far more people can answer that question than say, who was Saint Justin

the Martyr?

Interestingly though while Joseph may be one of the most known of our saints, what we

know of him is very little. Unlike other saints, there’s no writings that have been handed

down. He says nothing in the New Testament. All that is told of him is that he is a just

man, and he trusts in God’s plans over his own, and is there for Jesus and Mary until at

some point he dies before Jesus begins His public ministry.

The thing of it is though is that while Joseph doesn’t have to say or write much for us to

know who the man is. What we know is enough – that he was there day in and day out

to support Mary and Joseph, and that he played his part in God’s plan, and did so much

to make the Holy Family holy.

In many ways, I think our earthly fathers are a lot like Joseph. They say “yes” to the

vocation of being a dad and trust that even though their child does not come with an

instruction manual, things will work out. They look to their spouse as their partner and

equal in raising their child. But perhaps more than anything, every day they are just

quietly there for their children, from working a job to keep a roof over their heads, to

going to the ball games, giving them advice and guidance, and in a million small ways

day in and day out helping a child to realize they are loved, and that God has a plan for

them too by giving them the guidance they need to chase their own dreams and fulfill

that plan.

This weekend, we also celebrate the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. One of the

things we believe as Catholics is that Mass is a sacrifice, a re-presentation of what

happened at the first Mass, on Holy Thursday, and on Good Friday, when Jesus gave

Himself for us all out of love. It’s a perfect liturgical feast to coincide with Father’s Day,

because our father’s do the same for us.

In my life, I’ve been blessed with two great parents. With respect to my dad, what I think

about when I think of him is someone who is always there, and who has worked so hard

over the years for our family. Growing up, every day he’d go to work to support the

family, but when he got home he was there with us too. Some nights there’s be things to

do around the house; other nights we’d go to the park together, but through it all he

never was off doing “his own thing” with his friends but there for me growing up, as he

still is today. But he was also there for others, too. He’d be the first to be over at my

grandparents house to help with lawn cutting, snow shoveling, getting groceries for

them when they couldn’t drive, and he is also active in our parish too. He’s given me

much good advice over the years, but through his actions I’ve learned so much about

what the faith looks like in action.

Whether you are a father or not, you certainly have one. Hopefully it has been a good

relationship. If it hasn’t, strive to pray for him, and to work through emotions by

acknowledging them rather than burying them, remembering that God’s love can do so

much, and this continues even after we die too. If you’ve lost your father, remember that

death does not separate us forever. We may not have the person physically present

with us, but we are connected. They live on in God’s love, but we can still learn from

them too by emulating their good qualities. If you are fortunate to have your dad still

here on earth, give him a gift that he’ll treasure, namely the gift of your time, by making

time to visit and regularly see your father and grandfather. And if you are a father

yourself, never forget that all those many things you do for your families, even if they

aren’t always seen at the time as being important or appreciated, do so much to help

your children to come to know the love of God and how to respond to that love.

In a world where so much time and energy can go into wanting to be noticed by others,

fathers stand as an example that the most important things we do may be hidden from

the world, but truly leave a lasting impact in changing others for the better. Our fathers

help make us who we are, and they show us so much by quietly living out the faith day

after day and helping us to see God’s love through them, and helping us respond to that

love on our own journeys through life. May God bless them.

Have a blessed Father’s Day,

Fr. Paul