In the preface to An Anthology of George MacDonald, C.S. Lewis said that fatherhood must be at the core of the universe. Lewis gained this insight from Mac Donald, a Scottish author and poet who appeared to have a remarkable father, a man who was hard, tender, and humorous all at once, being a Scotch Christian.
Three to four centuries ago, the father’s role was not only the breadwinner but also the conveyer of moral values and religious education to the children. The situation began to change with the rise of secularization, industrialization, and urbanization. As the Church began to lose its influence and factories emerged as major sources of employment, fathers became distanced from the household and their families. The world witnessed growing rates of abandonment and illegitimate children. Fast forward to the 20th century. The growing autonomy of women coupled with the trend of contraception, abortions, increasing rates of divorce and remarriage have caused huge shifts from the traditional role of the father.
The Gospel today tells of Joseph who was tempted to abandon Mary pregnant with child. After the angel of the Lord appeared to him in dream, he decided to take Mary into his home. Joseph is indeed an ideal father that is faithful to his spouse and the familial responsibilities. We can all learn from St. Joseph in trusting God’s will for us, even if that means bearing huge responsibility in our lives. Let us pause for a moment and reflect on our relationship with our own father or any father figure in our lives. Let us be grateful for how important our father or father-figure has been in shaping our lives.