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Meeting the Demands of Fatherhood
Catholic Exchange ^ | 6-19-04 | Fr. James Farfaglia

Posted on 06/20/2004 11:19:30 PM PDT by Salvation

by Fr. James Farfaglia

Other Articles by Fr. James Farfaglia

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Meeting the Daily Demands of Fatherhood

A few days before Bob and Helen were going to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, I had the privilege of joining them for a home-cooked meal at their lovely East Texas home. As Helen diligently prepared the remaining details of the delicious dinner she would be serving that evening, I asked her what was the secret that caused her and her husband, Bob, to remain faithful to each other for so many years.

In This Article...
The Demands of Commitment
Needed: Real Men
Fathers Roll up Their Sleeves

The Demands of Commitment

Without hesitating, Helen turned from the stove and said, "It's commitment, Father." Bob smiled in agreement, as Helen went on to explain that while they were both very different people, they made a commitment to each other fifty years ago and that had been that.

Other friends, Richard and Pat, have been married for forty years. The day before they celebrated their anniversary with a family gathering in their home tucked away in the country, Pat went to the local supermarket thinking about all of the favorite foods that her grandchildren would enjoy eating the next day. As she was at the check-out counter, the young girl commented about the large quantity of groceries she was purchasing that day. "Tomorrow is my fortieth wedding anniversary," Pat proudly announced. The girl was surprised and said, "You've been married for forty years? This is something unheard of today. My parents have been divorced twice."

Commitment demands maturity, sacrifice, and a lot of love. Commitment means we have the ability to make a definitive decision and never think twice about the path that we have chosen. Commitment means that we will follow through with the consequences of that decision through the difficult moments and the tedium of daily existence.

Jesus said, "Let what you say be simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything more than this comes from evil” (Mt 5: 37). The rich young man decided not to follow Jesus when he was invited to be a disciple, precisely because he was incapable of making a commitment that demanded great personal sacrifice.

Immature men are incapable of making life-long decisions. Moreover, they are incapable of sacrifice, incapable of fidelity, and incapable of love. Only mature men are capable of these things.

Needed: Real Men

"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loves the church and gave Himself up for her..." (Eph 5: 25). A young parish priest from Syracuse, New York did not shy away from controversy when the Sunday reading at Mass said "Wives, be submissive to your husband, as to the Lord." He hit the controversy on the head when he said, "If your husband loves you just as Jesus loves the Church, you would want to be obedient to him." How can a wife be obedient to her husband who spends precious time drinking with his buddies, wasting precious time with frequent card games, or even indulging in addictive pornography?

Fatherhood demands responsibility. Every father who is a true man will be responsible for all of his actions. Today, most people escape responsibility by blaming their parents or society for the reasons as to why they behave the way they do. Although it is true that certain situations do influence our personal baggage that we carry through life, playing the blame game is self-indulgence and an escape from reality. Every problem has a solution, and St. Paul reminds us that we can overcome any problem with the grace of God. Anyone who has fallen into the trap of blaming everyone else for personal problems should write down the following passage from St. Paul, commit it to memory, and repeat it often throughout the day: "I can do all things in He who strengthens me" (Phil 4: 13).

Our contemporary culture has an urgent need for men who want to be real men; men capable of making definitive decisions and carrying them through no matter what obstacles may come their way. Our society needs men who are generous, self-giving, honest, industrious, sensitive to the needs of others, and well mannered; men who dress appropriately; men who are capable of an intelligent conversation with their wives, their co-workers, and their friends.

Fathers Roll up Their Sleeves

Throughout my life I have been blessed to know four men who have had a profound impact on my life. Each of these men, like every human being, had his own personal faults and limitations. Nevertheless, each of them had a great capacity for making definitive decisions, providing for their families, educating their children, serving their country, and persevering as faithful sons of their Church. All of them struggled with tremendous challenges. Two of them left Sicily at a young age penniless, but rich in ambition and willing to make personal sacrifices. The other two, rising from humble beginnings, became very successful businessmen and prominent members of their community. Not one of these four men ever blamed their parents, society, or even the economy for their difficulties. They did not whine and moan about their problems. They rolled up their sleeves and went to work, returning home exhausted only to get up the next day to do it all over again.

However, despite their struggles and suffering, all four men were profoundly happy and always the life of any party. Because they understood what it meant to truly be a man, they knew what it meant to be a father. Because they understood their identity as men and as fathers, they possessed a profound sense of peace and joy.

These four men all have had a profound influence on my life because they are members of my family. My great-grandfather, my mother's grandfather, came to this country from Sicily. My grandfather, my father's father, left Sicily when he was only seventeen years old, never to return until he was elderly. My maternal grandfather, living during the time of the Great Depression, eventually became the vice-president of a prominent company located in the city where he lived despite having had to drop out of school after the sixth grade. My father, without even knowing how to boil water, started his own restaurant when he was twenty-five. He became a self-taught chef, and years later became the corporate manager of a chain of forty restaurants.

I am eternally grateful to these men because they have taught me what it means to be a man and a father. As a priest, people call me "Father." The four men that I have mentioned have been called "father" by a small group of people called their families. I have been called "Father" by the thousands and thousands of people that I have provided for, nourished and educated for more than sixteen years as a priest. It is the vocation to celibate fatherhood that allows me to stretch my heart and give myself unconditionally with joy and love each day with renewed commitment and dedication.

Father's Day is here once again. This is a time for all fathers to reflect upon their duties as responsible and well-integrated men. Our nation has an urgent need that all fathers, be they heads of families, parishes or dioceses, be true and loving men who will give themselves unconditionally until the day the heavenly Father calls them to their eternal reward.

© Copyright 2004 Catholic Exchange

Fr. James Farfaglia is the pastor of St. Helena of the True Cross of Jesus parish in Corpus Christi, Texas.

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KEYWORDS: catholiclist; commitment; fatherhood; marriage
Happy Father's Day to all the Fathers who are out there.
1 posted on 06/20/2004 11:19:30 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: Salvation

Oops, I see that title should have been:

Meeting the DAILY Demands of Fatherhood

2 posted on 06/20/2004 11:20:26 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: *Catholic_list; father_elijah; nickcarraway; SMEDLEYBUTLER; Siobhan; Lady In Blue; attagirl; ...
Catholic Discussion Ping!

Please notify me via FReepmail if you would like to be added to or taken off the Catholic Discussion Ping List.

3 posted on 06/20/2004 11:21:12 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
4 posted on 06/20/2004 11:23:25 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Another interesting article:

A father for the 11th time - Widower becomes Catholic priest

5 posted on 06/20/2004 11:24:54 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
There was a show on TV last night (Animal Planet, I think)that was talking about the importance of fathers, even in the wild. The young male elephants turn to what are essentially gangs, ripping down trees and being just mean and destructive when their father is killed for his ivory.

I coach my grandson's basketball team and have gotten to know several boys without fathers in their homes. I really think these boys need a sense that God intended men take to care of their families, to take care of women.

I grew up without a father, but I did have older brothers and the Irish Christian Brothers for role models. Also, the times were different. Men had a sense of what a good man should do. Sadly, I think that's no longer the case.

6 posted on 06/21/2004 5:34:59 AM PDT by old and tired
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To: Salvation

I am happy to be able to say that my husband is a very good husband and father. He takes his roles as such very seriously. He believes his main job is to love, protect, lead, and provide for his family. I have been blessed by God in my husband. I am happy to lean on him when I need to and bolster him up when he needs me. I am constantly thanking God for my husband, Rick.

7 posted on 06/21/2004 6:54:52 AM PDT by no more apples (God Bless our troops)
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To: old and tired

Totally agree with you about the boys of today.

Desperate need for mentoring by upright traditionalists.

8 posted on 06/21/2004 8:10:22 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: no more apples

BTTT to your story.

9 posted on 06/21/2004 8:11:04 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation; Big Giant Head

A humble ping for a real man :-) I truly feel blessed in this day and age to have a faithful and loving husband to cherish.

10 posted on 06/21/2004 10:54:57 AM PDT by Marie Antoinette (The same thing we do every day, Pinky. We're going to TAKE OVER THE WORLD!)
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To: Salvation
Happy Father's Day to all the Fathers who are out there.

Thank you! And thanks for posting yet another great article on fathering. :o)

11 posted on 06/21/2004 12:23:44 PM PDT by al_c
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To: Marie Antoinette

God bless both of you!

12 posted on 06/21/2004 1:27:57 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: al_c

You're welcome.

Sometimes I think they just fall into my hands. For instance, this was on SpiritDaily. I didn't find it directly on Catholic Exchange! LOL!

13 posted on 06/21/2004 1:29:06 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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