Jesus speaks to you today, saying,
“And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’”
Do not misunderstand. The vocation of father is such a divine and holy office, that the Lord Himself creates it and hangs the 4th Commandment upon it: Honor your father and mother, regardless of what kind of father or mother a person is.
Yet, as with all things that turn bad or evil, fatherly care and concern begins with the best of intentions. I will do my best to keep my 100 sheep. I will carefully concern myself with my 10 silver coins. I will thoughtfully and purposefully raise my sons, as in the parable of the Prodigal son.
As the author of the English dictionary, Samuel Johnson, confirms, “Hell is paved with good intentions.” What he means is that even though we voice our opinion of things, intent changes nothing. Action alone will suffice a change. Yet, in our sin, we find even our actions unable to produce good, for even good actions go awry, though we never intend them to.
One of these actions and intentions is that of the American father. At the first, he was a father: guarding, protecting, and nurturing his family by hard work and disciplined piety. It was on him to provide simply because of how he was built as a male. He was able to bear hard labor and get things done all the while ensuring his family believed the right things.
Since that time, especially accelerated in the last 70 years or so, fathers have been hard at work giving up fatherhood and manhood and have unintentionally enslaved the ones they sought to free. Where they intended to give women a voice in society, they unintentionally vacated a lot of the public sector forcing women to serve instead.
Where they intended love and peace for all in the sexual revolution, they unintentionally left a scorched earth of no love and no peace in no-fault divorce and risk-free fornication. Where previously they intended to provide for families and others, they unintentionally forced self-education and hard labor on women and children, instead of themselves and now live in their parent’s basements well into their 30s.
With the intent to educate, they unintentionally shoved off their children onto the State, having others deal with them, instead of them raising their own children. With the intent to connect all the world via the internet, they unintentionally made it so they never have to leave the house for anything.
As more and more fathers and men shove their responsibilities off onto others, society falls further and further into decay. The Family, the very core of society, entrusted to men, has been dissolved. There is no father or mother anymore, but the gender neutral guardian or parent. There is no marriage anymore, but the all inclusive relationship. There is no husband or wife anymore, but spouse and partner.
Repent. Intending to make things better, we have made things worse. The immigrants to
intending to make a clean
start, unintentionally brought their own troubles and sin with them and yet this
did not change how fathers are supposed to be. Just because you disagree with a
previous generation’s view, does not make it completely wrong. We do not need
to reinvent the wheel of fatherhood, here, but simply to find what we lost. America
What is lost is true manliness and fatherhood.
Not only does the Good Shepherd have good intentions, but good results as well. Notice the shepherd in the Gospel. He keeps a tight lid on his flock. He knows all 100 of them, where they will be, what they are doing, and where they are going. He instantly knows that one is missing. He reacts violently to the fact that there was a chink in the armor, a hole in the wall and immediately moves to close the gap, by retrieving the lost.
The woman also keeps her wealth close to her chest. Guarding and caring in her own way. She does not rest until every means is exhausted in finding the lost. The father of the prodigal boy also acts in this manner. Though his son left, he continues to guard his household and seek for his son so that when he returns, his son may find a home left for him.
The Good Shepherd has had His flock stolen from Him; his precious treasure; His beloved Son, the Church. A chink; a gap was opened where no gap can open. Sin and death poured in, un-creating everything good and pure. There was nowhere for the lost to go except to be lost and to die in sin.
If the Lord were to go out there He would die as well, but that’s exactly what He does. Jesus does not stay in His mansions of safety, He forsakes all for His lost, fallen creatures. Finding them dead in their sins, He pours out His life-blood upon them, raising them up to new life.
On the cross, Jesus is restoring the lost and destroyed. He hoists your sins upon His shoulders and pays for all your impudence and iniquities. He scours His house, bleaching and purifying with His Body and Blood until nothing remains except silver and gold. He trains up His children in baptism, the way that they should go, and they do not depart from it.
Yet, what our heavenly Father is teaching us is not to be as diligent and concerted with our own efforts at finding and restoring, but instead to latch onto and covet that which overcomes the world and its corruption: faith. More than going out to find our own lost sheep, we need to have faith that our Good Shepherd comes out to find us.
More than seeking out our own absent treasure, we are to believe that Christ makes us His treasure by virtue of His Suffering and death on the cross. In this way, our true heavenly Father stops the gap up with His own Son’s Body and Blood, plugging the dam of sin and death forever, not just as a temporary measure, but as an eternal measure.
The Father’s intent from the beginning was always Good, with a capital ‘g’. This is because the Father’s intent, from the very beginning, was always to send His Son, rescue His people from their sins, build a house that cannot be broken.
The Father therefore sends true God and true man to care for those who are shoved off, to bring light to those in darkness, and to guide our feet into the way of peace. As earthly father, we can not hope to stand between the sin that leads to death and our own family and friends. Thus, the only duty of a manly father; the true restoration of fatherhood is to point to faith in the heavenly Father.
Greater than our actions and greater even than our “good” intentions is the Word of God. For in it the earthly father does not find his own words and actions, but the words, actions and promises of Jesus the Christ of God. In this, the earthly father does not present himself to his children or to society around him, but he presents the Savior of all.
The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. The Spirit is willing because it is the Holy Spirit. The flesh is weak, because it is corrupted to death with sin. We do not rely on the flesh that seeks and loses, but on the Spirit Who sends and finds.
The Spirit Who sends true love, Who gives a true family in the Church, and who creates living faith in those baptized believers. The world’s gates of revolution and progression will never overcome this given faith and even though we fail at every turn, we are not asked to succeed, but to confess and be forgiven.
That is the true intent of our heavenly Father and the actual good that comes from it. That though we find ourselves failing in sin, we always find Him intentionally succeeding, suffering and dying for us, in order that we might live the blessed life of faith, in Him.