Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fatherhood, from Benedict XVI

Ignatius Press GOD THE FATHER AND HUMAN FATHERHOOD
Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)

Let us begin at the point where God himself began. He calls himself Father. Human fatherhood can give us an inkling of what God is; but where fatherhood no longer exists, where genuine fatherhood is no longer experienced as a phenomenon that goes beyond the biological dimension to embrace a human and intellectual sphere as well, it becomes meaningless to speak of God the Father.
Where human fatherhood disappears, it is no longer possible to speak and think of God. It is not God who is dead; what is dead (at least to a large extent) is the precondition in man that makes it possible for God to live in the world. The crisis of fatherhood that we are experiencing today is a basic aspect of the crisis that threatens mankind as a whole.
 

Where fatherhood is perceived only as a biological accident on which no genuinely human claims may be based, or the father is seen as a tyrant whose yoke must be thrown off, something in the basic structure of human existence has been damaged. If human existence is to be complete, we need a father, in the true meaning of fatherhood that our faith discloses, namely a responsibility for one's child that does not dominate him but permits him to become his own self.
This fatherhood is a love that avoids two traps: the total subjugation of the child to the father's own priorities and goals, on the one hand, and the unquestioning acceptance of the child as he is, under the pretext that this is the expression of freedom, on the other. Responsibility for one's child means the desire that he realize his own innermost truth, which lies in his Creator. And naturally, a fatherhood of this kind is possible only if one accepts one's own status as a child.
If men are to be fathers in the correct way, they must assent in their heart to the words of Jesus: “You have only one Father, who is in heaven” (Mt 23:9). This has nothing to do with a domination that makes others one's slaves. It is a responsibility born of truth: because I have freely handed myself over to God, I can now free the other to be himself, without egoism, free for the God in whom he has his existence.

—Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)

From his book “The God of Jesus Christ”. Available in hardcover and e-book: www.ignatius.com/Products/GJC-H/the-god-of-jesus-christ.aspx?src=ipfb


 I am really going to miss him!
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