a litany for father’s day

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God of love,
Today we ask your blessing on all who give their lives with a father’s love.

Bless new fathers and wise grandfathers.
Bless loving uncles and caring godfathers.

Bless fathers who await the birth of their child with joy.
Bless men who did not expect or want to become fathers.

Bless men who embrace fatherhood through adoption or foster parenting,
remarriage or single parenthood.
Bless men still waiting and hoping to become fathers.

Bless fathers whose work takes them away from their children.
Bless fathers whose work is with their children.

Bless fathers whose lives are shaped by war, poverty, or violence.
Bless fathers who work for peace, freedom, and justice.

Bless teachers and mentors who serve as father figures.
Bless priests and ministers who lead as loving parents.

Bless men who are separated from their children, by force or choice.
Bless families without fathers and all who love in abundance in their absence.

Bless fathers who have lost a child.
Bless families who have lost their father.

Bless all whose fathers were loving.
Bless all whose fathers failed to meet their needs for love.

Bless all who celebrate today.
Bless all who struggle today.

In the name of the Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – we pray.
Amen.

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For more posts on Father’s Day, check out:

Father’s Day From Far Away

Celebrating Fathering Spirits

Fatherhood: Relation, Obligation, or Vocation? (from the Collegeville Institute)

father’s day from far away

He’s 10,000 miles away tonight. When I finally get him on the phone, I’m a blubbering mess. After a week apart and two more to go, I didn’t yet want to wave the white flag of defeat, but it was such a tough day – too little sleep, too many messes, two little boys with cranky tempers and only one of me, all day long.

Eloquence fails when nerves run this raw: I suck at flying solo.

But the truth was, we’d had so many good days this week: such delight at summer adventuring with my boys, discovering new parks and playgrounds, meeting up with lots of friends to fill our time as a trio. Which is why the spiral downward – from a difficult morning to a disastrous afternoon to a don’t-ever-need-to-revisit-this evening – sank even deeper after enjoying such heights.

C’est la vie, of course, these rolling ups and downs, how life with littles whiplashes from one extreme to the next in a matter of minutes. I shouldn’t have been surprised.

And yet what did surprise me was how quickly his voice calmed my anxiety. How the sound of his sympathy made my whole body relax.

In two minutes he’d talked me off the ledge and back onto the solid ground where a bad day does not make a bad mother. In another two minutes he had me laughing so hard I almost dropped the phone and we started swapping stupid stories about our days, as if he were driving home from work and not working four oceans away.

A sub-par Father’s Day? Probably in most people’s estimations. We never managed to get him a gift or a card or even post a proud photo on Facebook to boast that he (along with everyone else’s dad, according to my scrolling feed) is The Best Ever.

But the simple truth is that the man lives the calling. He is father to my boys beyond my younger days’ wildest hopes of what a partner could be. Whenever I see the way other people notice it, too, that’s when I sit back and soak up the sheer grace of what choosing to love him has brought to my life and to the lives of our children.

He’ll often quote me the line from Fr. Hesburgh that the best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother. And tonight in the smallest way, with a simple (ok, admittedly international, assuredly expensive) phone call, he did precisely that all over again.

Love spreads. His gives me more for them, for a better tomorrow.

Always.

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If you’ve stuck around through the sap, you can treat yourself to theological musings on the subject: I’m blogging here in honor of the holiday – asking whether fatherhood is a relation, an obligation, or a vocation?

(Bet you can’t guess what I think.)