Today we celebrate the gift of Fatherhood. Our father’s and father figures in our society are wonderfully diverse. Our father’s represent the beauty of the human condition, with all its joys and struggles. It makes our fathers relatable. Below I share part of an incident where Pope Francis shares with a boy the beauty of his father and how he is close to God because of his goodness. The following is quoted direct from an article in the American Magazine, the link is provided here:
“ROME — After circling a massive, crumbling public housing complex on the outskirts of Rome, Pope Francis had an emotional encounter with the neighborhood’s children. Question-and-answer sessions with youngsters are a standard part of Pope Francis’ parish visits. But then it was Emanuele’s turn. The young boy smiled at the pope as he approached the microphone. But then froze. “I can’t do it,” Emanuele said.
“Come, come to me, Emanuele,” the pope said. “Come and whisper it in my ear.” Emanuele was sobbing by that point, and Pope Francis enveloped him in a big embrace, patting his head and speaking softly to him. “A little while ago my father passed away. He was a nonbeliever, but he had all four of his children baptised. He was a good man. Is dad in heaven?’”
“How beautiful to hear a son say of his father, ‘He was good,’” the pope told the children. “And what a beautiful witness of a son who inherited the strength of his father, who had the courage to cry in front of all of us. If that man was able to make his children like that, then it’s true, he was a good man. That man did not have the gift of faith, he wasn’t a believer, but he had his children baptised. He had a good heart,” Pope Francis said.
The next step in answering Emanuele’s question, he said, would be to think about what God is like and, especially, what kind of heart God has. “What do you think? A father’s heart. God has a dad’s heart. And with a dad who was not a believer, but who baptized his children and gave them that bravery, do you think God would be able to leave him far from himself?” NO.
“There, Emanuele, that is the answer,” the pope told the boy. “God surely was proud of your father, because it is easier as a believer to baptise your children than to baptise them when you are not a believer. Surely this pleased God very much.” Pope Francis encouraged Emanuele to “talk to your dad; pray to your dad.”