Happy Father's Day

I was speaking at a conference in Houston several years ago when someone came up and asked me, "What is your claim to fame?" Without hesitation, the first word out my mouth then was "weakness."

You see, I have made many mistakes in my life, and yet now I realize that these were opportunities for growth. And through the message of Divine Mercy, I realize that God loves me in my weakness! And, when I realize my humanity and let down the guard of pride, I am at my strongest. For, "when I am weak, then I am strong" (2Cor 12:10).

As a father of seven children in today's upside down world, I not infrequently get chided for having "so many" children. Yet, children are a gift from God! Yes, I must admit that on rare occasion, in times of difficulty, I have asked God, "why so many blessings?" But, without hesitation I can say that my wife and I realize that what others see as an inconvenience, a nuisance, and an obstacle to joy and peace, we understand that our children are what gives us the greatest joy!

Now, years after my Houston experience, if anyone asks me what my claim to fame is, I would have to say, "My family!" Yes, children can cause a parent to age rapidly, as some of mine have, but I can say with clear conviction that the sacrifices a father makes for his children are well worth it, and may never be appreciated until the children become adults.

I suspect years from now my children will say, "How did dad ever do it?" I have been able to do it because I trust in God and realize the fleeting nature of time itself. I have witnessed my own father, once so full of vigor and vitality, grow old in front of my eyes. And when it is my turn to take my last breath, I believe that I will be able to say with a smile, "Lord, you gave me so many blessings. My wife and I sacrificed so much, and we got much more in return. Children really are a gift, and I thank you for the exhilarating roller coaster ride we call life itself."

Many of us don't appreciate the beauty of life until we lose our health or a loved one. For those raising children, our lives are so fast paced that we often don't take time to see what is going on around us! Listen to the words of St. Faustina, "O life so dull and monotonous, how many treasures you contain! When I look at everything with the eyes of faith, no two hours are alike, and the dullness and monotony disappear. The grace which is given me in this hour will not be repeated in the next... Time goes on, never to return again" (Diary, 62).

So, today, on this special occasion we call Father's Day, I ask all fathers to take a minute and thank God for their vocation and for the gift of family and children. We cannot look back and redo mistakes we have made, but we can pull back on the throttle of life and enjoy the beauty of today wherever we may be.

Dads, I ask you to pause for a moment, take a deep breath, give thanks to God for all the gifts he has bestowed on you, and "take time to smell the roses!" And for spouses and children, take a minute to thank God for your father!

Dr. Bryan Thatcher is the founder of Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy (EADM), an apostolate of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception.

Learn more about EADM.

Learn how to start a Divine Mercy cenacle in your area.

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