Father Brendan Lee's Thursday Thoughts

FOUR expectant fathers were in a Minnesota hospital waiting room, while their wives were in labor. The nurse tells the first man, “Congratulations! You're the father of twins!” “What a coincidence! I just started a job at the Minnesota Twins baseball team!”

The nurse returns and tells the second man, “You are the father of triplets!” “Wow, what a coincidence! I've only just started a new job at the 3M Corporation!”

The nurse then tells the third man that his wife has given birth to quadruplets. “Another coincidence! I only just started a job the other day at the Four Seasons Hotel!”

The fourth man starts running out the door. The nurse calls out “Where are you going?” The expectant father shouts back hurriedly “Up the street to quit my new job at Century 21!”

In thinking on all the images I saw this Easter, I’ve been musing most on the image of Jesus on the cross. I notice at baptisms, weddings and funerals non Christians staring at the statue of Jesus on the cross more than any other statue in the church. Maybe it seems a gruesome image to them, although no more gruesome than a lot of action movies and especially video games (not that I’m complaining). Maybe they see all the virtues at work in that one image of Jesus on the cross. I don’t know what they’re thinking as I can’t read people’s minds … except when I owe them money.

I like that while Jesus was on the cross he kept calling God “Father” in the presence of his executioners, which was the reason they wanted him executed in the first place: calling God “Father”. Now we take this privilege for granted.

For you who have fathered children, you’ve had an eternal impact on history. To decide to have a child, to participate in and cooperate in the creation of life.

What an awesome privilege. You might help build a house that still lasts 200 years from now; but when you father a child you help build someone who will last forever. No wonder they call you the same name given to God: Father.   

An often-overlooked casualty in a family separation is the father; even when it wasn’t his choice or it was a no-fault divorce. Practicalities often mean the mother has the majority companionship of the children and so the separated father spends many painful nights with his TV and his phone rather than his children. Even when both parents are very happy with the separation and feel the split was a win, do their children always win?  It appears the first step then in being a good father to your children is to love their mother. Does that sound a bit idealistic? Maybe; but shouldn’t we be idealistic when it comes to a father loving his children’s other favorite person? 

I used to ask every great parent I knew “What’s the secret to parenting?” I stopped asking after a few years because most gave me the same answer: “You have to be consistent”. I think an unnecessary separation of parents brings a new inconsistency to the consistency the children had rightfully come to depend on. 

Sincere feminism is a good thing. What is good for women is good for all of us. Feminism over the last 150 years has broken down walls that were no longer needed. But even something good can go too far and I think the rise and rise of feminism is making us all “say mum” and too afraid to even discuss the fact that there are now many fathers in our community suffering because they fear the loss of, or have actually lost that which matters most to them. What is bad for men is bad for all of us.   

Father Brendan Lee