Dear Spiritual Fathers,
"I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one." (I John 2:13)
Father's Day is this weekend and Facebook/Instagram will be filled with posts about everyone's dad, whether it be a biological dad, uncle, grandfather, godfather or stepfather. But how can we forget about our spiritual fathers? Priests/deacons/religious brothers make a huge impact in the lives of so many they encounter or serve.
Thank you for being an earthly example of what God's love is like. I can barely take care of myself, but you have to care for the congregation, perform daily duties with a busy schedule as well as care for your own health. I hope you know that we are forever grateful for all that you do for us. For those of us who do not have a good relationship with our own fathers, it brings us hope when we are shown what fatherhood is supposed to be like whether it be through the Gospel, the sacraments or just by your example.
I know that I wouldn't be the person I am today without that "super" priest that continues to encourage me to be a better and holy person. He is filled with so much energy and love that I find myself in awe (and very often, in tears.) You may not realize it but you have this effect on many of us. We are overwhelmed by what life throws at us but you always lead us to God. By just being present in person or on social media, it allows us to feel happy and secure. The energy you put towards the Church, we put in our faith.
Thank you for laying down your life for Christ and the Church. Thank you for making quirky jokes during the homilies. Thank you for being at the hospitals, jails, burial sites, confessionals, schools, retreats and community events. Thank you for being an example for young men as they discern the priesthood. Thank you for wiping our tears when we aren't the best people and celebrating when two families merge into one. Thank you for wearing your roman collar under your Superman t-shirt as you smile for a selfie.
When the days are hectic, I hope you see that your job is amazing. I mean you have hundreds of spiritual children to watch over! We look up to you for spiritual guidance and unconditional love when times are good and bad. It is beautiful how Christ works through you. Thank you for being a servant leader for a community that really needs it. Just know that we pray for you almost as much as you pray for us.
Thank you for answering your call to this vocation.
Your Daughter/Son in Christ