Pope Francis speaks on the mission of fathers in families
February 04, 2015
A week after he lamented the absence of fathers from families, Pope Francis devoted his February 4 general audience to the mission of fatherhood.
Reflecting on a text from the Book of Proverbs (“My son, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad. My soul will rejoice when your lips speak what is right”), the Pope said that fathers are called to transmit wisdom of heart to their children.
The Pope said that a wise father thinks, “I taught you things you did not know, I corrected mistakes that you did not see.” The wise father gives a testimony of “rigor and firmness” when the child desires “complicity,” and in doing so bears “the weight of inevitable misunderstandings.” In the end, he rejoices when he sees that his son, too, acts wisely and acts in the same way with his own children.
“A father knows how much it costs to transmit this legacy … how much sweetness and how much firmness,” the Pope continued. “But what consolation and what recompense you receive, when the children render honor to this legacy!”
Pope Francis called upon fathers to be present to their families and to be close to their wives, to “share everything, joys and sorrows, hopes and labors.” To be present, however, is not to be a “controller.”
Fathers, he continued, should correct without demeaning and turn to the grace that comes from God the Father, lest they become discouraged.
“Children need to find a father waiting for them when they return from their failures,” he added.
Invoking the example of St. Joseph, the Pope concluded by stating that “the Church, our mother, is committed to supporting with all her might the good and generous presence of fathers in families.”
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- Udienza generale: padri presenti ma non controllori. Ampia sintesi (Vatican Radio)
- Pope laments absence of fathers from families (CWN, 1/28)
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