Like Saint Joseph, Fathers Quietly Do so Much
Besides being the patron saint of fathers, our parish patron Saint 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?” many could tell you who he was as the foster father of Jesus. But what about beyond that?
While Joseph may be one of the most known of our saints in terms of name recognition, 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 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. They look to God for help and guidance too. 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.
In my life, I’ve been blessed with two great parents. With respect to my dad, he is someone who has always been 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’d be things to do around the house; other nights we’d go to the park together for sledding in the winter or tossing the football or working on catching fly balls in the summer and fall, or hang out at the house and fire up the Atari or electric football, 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. Now a grandfather and recently retired, it’s a joy to see him spend time with my nephew Henry who is an energetic 6 year old. But he’s also continually there for other people too, much as he has been his whole life, helping whenever he can. 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 his 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. Like Saint Joseph, he lets his actions do the talking. (And evangelizing).
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. Hopefully like with my dad, your experience has been one of learning so much by seeing God’s love in action in many ways through your father’s way of life.
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,
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