How can I begin to express how grateful I am for everything you’ve been for me?
Thanks to you, I am not among the one-third of all children who are raised in a home absent of my biological father. For some providential reason I was born to you, a caring and selfless father who was committed to raising me….and that has made all the difference in who I am and who I have become.
Dad, you were a positive figure in my life, and you increased my self-confidence and my morale. You bestowed within me a sense of dignity and self-respect. Seeing how feeling proud in doing my best made you proud, I gave my all in school and in sports, and even amidst setbacks, I conquered. You directed the building of my character and made me secure in my identity. You were my rock, my security, my foundation.
You were patient through my imperfections and, like any kid’s, my behavior needed your prudential correction from time to time. Because of you I came to respect authority and law. Because you were an upright and positive example to me, present and invested in my upbringing, the choices I make today will not likely wind me up in prison. Because you did not abuse drugs or alcohol, I don’t. Because you valued honesty and integrity, so do I.
Dad, you lived in our home and you were never far away. And because of that, we were not four times more likely to live in poverty. You sacrificed daily to provide for us, and though we may not have been rich, you ensured that I lived comfortably, providing every basic need. I could ask for nothing more than what you gave.
As your son, I learned from you how to be a man, how to respect women, and how to work tirelessly for the common good. As your daughter, I learned my self-dignity, set my standards high, preserved my purity, and dreamed of falling in love with a man who would exceed your standards.
Dad, from the moment I came to be, you were devoted to my mom, throughout her pregnancy, birth, and in the sleepless nights and ever growing expenses that followed! I’ve come to see how from the very beginning, it was you who gave me the best shot at life. Thank you for your fatherhood.
And if that wasn’t enough, dad, you have not only impacted my world, but you’ve impacted my eternity.
You showed me what “Father” is and incarnated for me an image of God the Father. From the mystery of a father’s initiating generosity as source of new life in procreation, you showed me God the Father, the creator of the universe, who is the source of all that is.
Because you were provider, knowing how to give good gifts to us, your children, I came to realize how much more God the Father wants to care and provide for me (Matthew 7:11).
You, dad, showed me what it is like to sacrifice, for you would sacrifice your very life for my safety and protection, giving me a first-hand taste of the sacrificial love of God, who gave his only beloved Son (John 3:16).
You corrected my ignorance and admonished my wickedness, forming my heart with your fatherly justice, while always drawing me closer to yourself. You showed me God as judge, as a father who wants the best for me, even when I might not want it for myself.
Finally, you loved me unconditionally, always ready to take me back, no matter what I had done….Just like God the Father, who stands longing to forgive, waiting for my return each time I depart from Him. You showed me how my Father God is full of mercy, compassion, and love (Luke 15:11-32).
But dad, I also saw that you were just a man, imperfect and fallen… Still, God called you receive the gift of fatherhood, to guide me through this world, and to point me to the next – to be my earthly father so as to entrust me to my Heavenly one.
From my heart and soul, and all that I am,
If you and I are Catholic Gentlemen who have been entrusted with the vocation of fatherhood, then it is my deepest hope and prayer that we may fulfill our duty as Catholic fathers, so that one day, unexpectedly, you and I might find a letter containing the text above in a familiar hand, simply addressed to “Dad”.
Happy Father’s Day!
~ The Catholic Gentleman's Guide