The Father’s Love: Felt, Seen, and Believed

father's day catholic reflection

Every year on Father’s Day I get a little sentimental. I can’t help it. You see, I am a daddy’s girl, through and through.

I know what it is to feel a father’s unconditional love. My own daddy taught my siblings and me all about that. I know what it is, as a mother, to watch a man grow into a father. My husband has shown me that.

And, most likely without even realizing it, these great men have witnessed to me just a glimmer of what our Father God’s love truly is.

Not Just Going Fishing

When I was about 9 years old, my daddy took me on my very own fishing trip. Just the two of us.

Daddy got home from work on a Friday night and we loaded up the back of his 1984 Chevy Blazer with sleeping bags, fishing gear, lawn chairs, and the snacks and soda that I got to pick out special. We drove the couple hours down to Meramec Springs and “camped” in the back of that Blazer.  My poor, 6’4” dad! Then, in the morning, he took me out to breakfast and I got to order whatever I wanted from the campground diner.

After breakfast, we grabbed our poles and bait and hit the water. Daddy taught me how to bait my hook by myself and reminded me how to cast my line. I’m sure I chatted the poor man’s ear off about all manner of terribly important nine-year-old things. I’m also sure that I scared away the fish with my nonsense!

But Daddy listened. He kidded me and let me talk the day away. And somehow, through some sort of fatherly magic, I managed to catch more fish than he did.

Being Known and Loved By a Father

Now, at the time, of course, I just thought it was really cool that I got to do something that my siblings didn’t. As the oldest, that was always fun!

Looking back, though, I see that it was so much more. It was a chance that a very hard-working man had to relax and spend some one-on-one time with his daughter. To pass on to her an interest that he had that they could possibly share. This man worked tirelessly to provide for his family, pray with us, play with us, and discipline us. And he loved us more than we could understand.

He knew how important it was to treat his daughter in a way that proved to her how special she was. And to this day, I love to see his cell number pop up unexpectedly on my phone. I love when I’m talking to my mom and I hear him yell from the other room, “Tell my Bebbie I said hi and I love her.”

The gentle ways this giant of a man has showered his family with love have helped me believe in a good and loving God from my earliest days.

Our Father Loves Us

Sisters, I know that not all of us have witnessed this kind of love in our lives. And for that, I am deeply sorry.

Because, you see, it’s precisely through experiencing this paternal love from my own dad (and now, as a mother, seeing the same in my husband) that I can know, feel, and believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that our God is a loving and good Father.

He isn’t just some white-bearded old man in the sky who is waiting to judge us and watching us as we goof up while we grow. No! Jesus Himself told us that God is our Father. He guards us, guides us, and loves us through all of our successes and our failures. He loves us with a love beyond all telling and wants us to know that we are His. We find our true home in the Father.

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Pray for All Fathers

So let us pray for all of our fathers this Father’s Day. Let’s join our prayers together for the daddies, dads, pops, grandpas, uncles, godfathers, and yes, all of the priests and deacons in our lives. All of those men who have blessed our lives with love and those who have perhaps not given us what we needed.

With one voice, let us ask our Heavenly Father to especially bless these men with everything they need to fulfill their vocation here on earth. With strength, dignity, and an abundance of love, may they lead our families home to Christ.

What dads in your life are you celebrating this Father’s Day?

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Beth Williby is a mom of four pretty amazing humans and has been married to her college sweetheart for almost twenty years. She does her best praying through singing and feeding the people she loves. Having grown up in the Midwest, she now calls Northeast Florida home. You can find out more about her here.

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