The first need is this: that a father be present in a family. That he be close to his wife, sharing everything—joy and sorrow, hope and hard- ship.
And that he be close to his children as they grow—when they play and when they strive, when they are carefree and when they are dis- tressed, when they are talkative and when they are silent, when they are daring and when they are afraid, when they take a wrong step, and when they find their path again: a father who is always present.
To say “present” is not to say “controlling.” Fa- thers who are too controlling stifle the spirit of their children; they don’t let them develop.
The Gospel speaks to us about the exemplarity of the Father who is in Heaven who alone, Jesus says, can be truly called, “the good Father” (cf. Mk10:18).
Everyone knows that extraordinary parable of the Prodigal Son, or better yet, the Merciful Fa- ther (Luke 15:11-32). What dignity and what tenderness there is in the expectation of that father who stands at the door of the house waiting for his son to return!
Fathers must be patient. Often there is nothing else to do but wait; pray, and wait with pa- tience, gentleness, magnanimity, and mercy.
A good father knows how to wait, and he knows how to forgive from the depths of his heart. Certainly, he also knows how to correct with firmness: he is not a weak father, submis- sive and sentimental. The father who knows how to correct without humiliating is the one who knows how to protect without sparing him- self… .
[All of this is, of course, not easy, so Fathers need God.] Without the grace that comes from the Father who is in Heaven, fathers lose cour- age and give up.
Children need to find a father waiting for them when they come home after failing. They will do everything not to admit it, not to show it, but they need it. And not to find it opens wounds in them that are difficult to heal.
The Church, our Mother, is committed to sup- porting with all her strength the good and gen- erous presence of fathers in families, for they are the irreplaceable guardians and mediators of faith through their goodness, justice, and pro- tection.
Blessed Fathers Day.