St. Joseph’s Feast on March 19 is a kind-of “Catholic Father’s Day,” an opportunity for Catholic men—and the women who love them—to reflect on what it means to be a father after The Father’s own heart.
The Beatitudes are one surprising, often overlooked, source Catholic men can turn to for guidance in becoming the men, husbands, and fathers our families need us to be. Pope Francis has called the Beatitudes our “guide on the path of Christian life.” Of course, God leads by example. As such, in addition to being a call to Christian discipleship, the Beatitudes also could be said to reveal something about the ways God the Father relates to us, his children. Seen in this light, the Beatitudes present a unique opportunity for Christian men to become godly dads.
That’s why I wrote The BeDADitudes: 8 Ways to Be An Awesome Dad, which looks at how the 8 Beatitudes can be understood to shed light on a uniquely Christian vision of masculinity, in general, and fatherhood, in particular. Want to be an awesome dad? Here’s a sample of how the 8 Beatitudes can help you be the father God is calling you to be.
Blessed Are Dads Who Are Poor In Spirit
Seek to be a father after THE Father’s own heart.
Being a dad is on-the-job training. No one has it figured out. Don’t pretend you do. Go to God every day. Ask him to teach you to be the husband and father he wants you to be; the husband and father your wife and children need you to be.
Blessed Are The Dads Who Mourn
Be not afraid of feelings. Empathize with your family’s tears, fears, and struggles.
In scripture, “mourning” doesn’t mean “be sad” so much as it means “cultivate a compassionate heart.” It is not your job to fix or feel judged by your wife or kids’ feelings. It is your job to be present to your wife and kids, to understand why they feel as they do, to show that you care, and to help them work through their feelings in godly ways
Blessed Are The Dads Who Are Meek
Meekness isn’t weakness. Cultivate the humble strength of a listening heart.
In biblical Greek, the word for “meek” is “prauss, it was adjective used to described a war horse that is not easily spooked in battle and responds readily to its rider’s commands. A real leader listens first. The father who is authentically meek is not afraid to listen to God and to attend to the needs his wife and children bring to him especially when doing so requires him to grow, change, or learn new skills.
Blessed Are The Dads Who Hunger And Thirst For Righteousness
Awesome Dads are on a Mission from God. Live for Him. Lead your family To Him.
Research shows that when dads model discipleship in their lives and relationship and take the lead in prayer, faith formation, and character training in the home, kids are exponentially more likely to live your faith and values as adults. Be the father that leads your family to THE father.
Blessed Are The Dads Who Are Merciful
Be a loving mentor in your home. Don’t break hearts. Mold them.
Don’t be “The Punisher.” Be a mentor and teacher. Treat your children with respect. Don’t just yell or impose harsh consequences when they mess up.
Instead, teach them how to meet their needs and express themselves in good and godly ways. Put more energy into encouraging, teaching and supporting good behavior than in punishing bad.
Blessed Are the Dads Who Are Pure in Heart
Cherish the treasure of your wife and children. Protect their dignity. Affirm their worth
Pope St. John Paul the Great taught that the opposite of love is use. Love makes people more people-y. Use makes people into things or tools. Don’t treat your wife or kids as the “things” that exist to make YOUR life easier. Set the standard for loving service in your home.
Blessed Are the Dads Who Are Peacemakers
Keep your house in order. Prioritize your family. Protect the heart of your home.
St. Augustine said, “Peace is the tranquility of right order.” Be the hands-on dad that makes sure your household is characterized by respect, generosity, mutual service, and orderliness.
Blessed Are the Dads Who Are Persecuted for the Sake Of Righteousness
The world will try to undermine your effort to be an awesome dad. Be one anyway.
When your friends, family-of-origin, co-workers, or employers try to make you sacrifice what’s best for your family for what they want, choose your family and know God the Father will honor your sacrifice.
This month, it is my prayer that ever Catholic man would let the example of our patron, St Joseph, teach us to be fathers after The Father’s own heart.