On Father's Day, an appreciation of being children of God

I remember asking my parents one time, if there was a Mother’s Day and a Father’s Day, why wasn’t there a “Children’s Day?” My dad looked at me, laughed and said, “Every day is children’s day!” How true. Such is the sacrifice of parenting — of giving 100 percent to their children day in and day out.

As we celebrate Father’s Day this year, however, and give thanks to God the Father for our own fathers and grandfathers and fathers of our children, and for our priests, bishops and other spiritual fathers, I’d like to reflect a bit on what it means to be a child of God the Father.

Each time we attend Mass, we hear ourselves referred to as brothers and sisters — a reminder that we are all children of God, baptized into the same beautiful family of believers.

In an Angelus address in 2012, Pope Benedict XVI reminded us that, as God is “at the root of every created being’s life,” he “is the Father of every person in a special way: he has a unique and personal relationship with every human being.

“Each one of us is wanted and loved by God,” he continued. “And also in this relationship with God, we can be ‘reborn,’ so to speak — in other words, become what we are.

“This happens through faith, through a profound and personal ‘yes’ to God as the origin and foundation of our existence,” Pope Benedict said. “With this ‘yes’ I receive life as a gift of the Father who is in Heaven, a Parent whom I do not see but in whom I believe and whom, in the depths of my heart, I feel is my Father and the Father of all my brethren in humanity, an immensely good and faithful Father.”

As children, we are rightly taught to be obedient to and to honor our biological fathers. We also know we can seek out our fathers with our questions and look to them for guidance. We know, as their children, we are beloved, and we cherish being in relationship with them.

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Do we stop and consider often enough that the same is true for God the Father? Are we obedient to his will, knowing that he is calling us to true fulfillment and joy? Do we honor him with our love and frequent communication? Do we seek out a personal relationship with him? Do we rejoice in the gift of being his children? Do we look to him to become who we are meant to be?

Scripture says that before God formed us in our mothers’ womb, he knew us. He desires nothing more than for us to want to know him.

So perhaps this Father’s Day, in addition to celebrating and giving thanks for our biological fathers, we can take a moment to reflect on these questions and on what it means to be a child of God, beloved of the Father.

Being baptized as children of God is a great gift. It is also a great responsibility — one to which we must recommit ourselves daily. Let us give thanks to God the Father for his great gift of life and for his never-ending love.

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