CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 23 September 2017

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Everyday love for an everyday dad

We all have role models, the people that have had an impact on our lives in one way or another. The list of those inspiring personalities varies from one person to another as we all have different experiences and backgrounds.
 
Some were inspired by parents, others were further motivated by living heroes, by the saints, those they have read about or an unforgettable event, as life is always colourful when we are surrounded by people with experience.
 
Needless to say their experiences help us to shape our lives and lead us on the way to healthy growth, to maturity and to a meaningful adult life. People are educated to achieve these goals in life.
 
I mention heroes. I mention parents. As we celebrate Father’s Day, we think in a special way about who fathers are to us. First of all, I admit they are worth more than what words can possibly say.
 
But since we use words or body language to express our feelings, we cannot help but to say that the word Father itself tells us more about what their mission is: they contribute to give life.
 
This unselfish act of love has helped us to enter this life and to be agents of change in a world in need of true witnesses. Yes, to be true in the world begins by being true at home, true with others and ourselves in order to avoid the spirit of two-faced people.
 
Our fathers’ efforts were meant to help us become the type of persons that is motivated by the truth.
 
We know them as hard-working people, the kind that devotes their time to providing us with what is good, meaningful and helpful. 
 
Without their effort, life would not be the same.
 
We saw them working tirelessly, giving themselves entirely to meeting the demands of the time. Was it for their personal benefit? Here the answer will vary according to the state of our feelings, but a responsible father will always have his family in his mind and heart.
 
Therefore, you and I were always part of their plans for the future. Now that you too are working hard to meet the demands your responsibilities give you, think of the origin of your dedication. It is because you have probably seen your father at work?
 
As you celebrate him today, remember that you call him Dad and he calls you son or daughter. Remember he prevented you from falling and lifted you up when you did fall.
 
He helped you move your feet while learning to walk and removed a tear from your eye when things went wrong.
 
He was tough at times when you took things for granted, just to teach you that life will not always be easy and that sacrifice has a meaning. 
 
He protected you from the bad guys to teach you that your choice of friends is an important step in keeping the good education you received.
 
He brought you to Church and corrected the way you made the sign of the cross before praying. You know well that he had to sacrifice his time with friends outside to come back home, just for you and me.
 
Although he was busy with his work, he still had time to play and to check your homework. The list of these small things could fill a book.
 
But did we always see that good side of his teaching? Not always. But many times new parents have come to me and said: “My father was right…”
 
Why? Because they are now facing the demands of educating their own children.
 
Congolese people say, “Sometimes education is like a bitter drug: it is hard to take, but its true worth is felt later...”
 
As you rejoice with him on this Father’s Day, recall that he is a human being. And as such, he too did not make the right decisions at times; he was nervous in dealing with some situations.
 
You did notice some excess in the way he approached you or others. However, the reality of life has taught us that ups and downs are a reality that anyone can experience.
 
The ups and downs that happen to you and me are the same as the ones that happened to him, even though the intensity may differ.
 
But saying Happy Father’s Day means: “Dad, I love you for who you are to me.”
 
Some experiences have taken fathers away from their families and like ships, other fathers have sunk without a trace.
 
There are fathers who, like ostriches, did not have the courage to face the reality of life. It happens. Life has its demands.
 
But the nature of fatherhood cannot be reduced to these sad experiences. It is a noble mission in itself. Like mothers, fathers too are priceless.
 
While you know he is a human being, you also know that he did many good things. As you say Happy Father’s Day, remember the blessing. Dear Father, as you hear the words Happy Father’s Day from your child, remember that you are a father and that you are loved as such.
 
Be proud of your identity as a father and rejoice, since this day is for you and your mission is for every day, it is also a sign they love you every day.
 
As we celebrate this day, we think too of those fathers who have already made the transition from this world to the next.
 
They taught us to be a family, to remain connected as brothers and sisters and to do nothing that will cause harm to the neighbour.
 
Mine taught me to put love at the centre of my work, for “love is its own reward.” Now that I am another kind of father, his words are always a reminder that pure love is the best way to everlasting happiness.
 
He will be eternally remembered for that and for other golden moments. Thanks a million!
You, the unknown father who is forced to be away from your family and cannot celebrate this day with them because of war, famine, exile or some other natural or human-made calamity, know that these sad realities will not disconnect you from us. You too are remembered and loved.
 
Happy Fathers’ Day.
 
 
 ● Father Dominique Mukonda CICM
St. Mary’s Hung Hom