Friday, October 29, 2010

Apostles and Fathers

Two articles for your reading pleasure this fine Friday morning:

First, by your faithful local scribe and appearing over at the new Catholic Exchange: 'Built Upon the Foundation of the Apostles' which reflects on yesterday's Feast of Sts. Simon and Jude and the upcoming Feasts of All Saints and All Souls:

The month of November is set aside as a month to pray to and for our predecessors in the faith. Beginning with the Feast of All Saints and the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (commonly ‘All Soul’s Day’), the last few weeks of the Liturgical Year cause us to dwell on our own destiny in faith as well. The readings for Mass turn to the Four Last Things (Heaven, Hell, Death and Judgment) as we approach the Feast of Christ the King and recognize our place in God’s Eternal Kingdom.

As I was recently praying over these mysteries, a new connection was made. The end of October finds the Feast of Sts. Simon and Jude on the Liturgical calendar. What is strange is that even though these two men are Apostles of the Lord, travelers with Him and part of His earliest missionaries, we know next to nothing of their lives. For all intents and purposes, these two great figures are anonymous to us today.

Yet, even in their anonymity, the Catholic Church is built upon their faith. In the Book of Revelation, we see the new City of Jerusalem built upon a foundation of twelve courses of stone, each marked with the name of one of the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb (Rev. 21:14).

Secondly, over at The Integrated Catholic Life Channel, Dr. Donald DeMarco on the meaning of Fatherhood. I think it applies to both physical and spiritual fatherhood. You?

There is a certain immediacy about motherhood that cannot be said of fatherhood. Nature goes a long way in helping a mother know what it means to be a mother. Ovulation, pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, and breast feeding are natural and immediate experiences that teach a mother a great deal about the meaning of her motherhood. Motherhood is imminent, but fatherhood is transcendent.

If nature does comparatively little to teach a man the meaning of fatherhood, his wife, his children, and his culture must help to fill in the blanks. Yet, secular feminism, the high divorce rate, and abortion most emphatically do not help a man to understand the meaning of his own fatherhood. In fact, agencies are busy at work trying to “deconstruct” fatherhood and “deculture” paternity.

Yet, fatherhood and good fathers are of inestimable importance to society. David Blankenhorn, in his book, Fatherless America: Confronting Our Most Urgent Problem (Basic Books), provides evidence that fatherlessness is the leading cause of the declining well-being of children and the engine that drives our most urgent social problems from crime to adolescent pregnancy to child sexual abuse to domestic violence against women.

The following 10 distinctions shed light on the critical, yet subtle nature of fatherhood. Whereas motherhood is unmistakable because of the power of nature, fatherhood requires no small degree of sophisticated understanding.

Happy Friday, all.

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