Father to Father
You're Going to Be A Father
So, you are going to be a father! Congratulations! Oh, I know, you may be feeling a whole range of emotions, from happiness to sheer terror. I remember when my wife told me we were expecting our first child. I did not feel ready at that moment, but, thankfully, we had nine months to prepare. I was working offshore at that time, as a ship’s navigation officer, but I decided to quit my sea-going career and find work on shore. I did not want to be out at sea when our child first smiled, or spoke, or walked. It wasn’t an easy transition, but by God’s grace, and with the help of a good friend, I found a decent job with a shipping agency. I am so glad that I took that step, so that I could more fully support my wife during her pregnancy, prepare our home for our new arrival, and experience the wonder and joy of our newborn baby.
I hope you are also preparing for the arrival of your baby, with the mother of your child. God is giving you both very special gifts. She receives the gift of motherhood, and you receive the gift of fatherhood. I realize that your own experience of growing up with your father and your mother may not be all good times. If your own childhood was a rough time, then you might very naturally doubt your own ability to be a good father, a good husband.
I have three points for you to consider: a promise, a patron, and a prayer.
The promise is this: God will never leave you or abandon you (see Hebrews 13:5). He will always be with you, always available to you. When things seem too tough to handle, if you face problems that have no easy solutions, know that God is with you, He cares for you, and His mercy is “new every morning,” as we read in the Bible (Lamentations 3:22-23). Take each day as it comes, do your best, and trust God for the rest.
The patron is St. Joseph, the man chosen by God to be the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the guardian of His Only Son, Jesus. You may know the story, how Joseph and Mary got off to a rough start as a couple. She was pledged to him to be his wife, but then turned up pregnant before the wedding, and not by him. Joseph wasn’t sure what to do, whether to divorce Mary, or pretend the child was his. But God spoke to him in a dream and shared with him the amazing grace that was bringing this new life into the world (see Matthew 1:18-25). And Joseph believed God, so he took Mary into his home and cared for her and the child for the rest of his life. Joseph learned a lot from God, and from Mary and Jesus. Joseph can teach us about courage, and patience, and solving problems.
The prayer comes from another saint, St. Faustina. She is the Polish nun who received the vision of the Divine Mercy and promoted devotion to Jesus by that name. One of the most popular prayers she shared, revealed to her by Jesus, is the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy. But I would like to recommend to you a much shorter, simpler prayer that she prayed: “Jesus, I trust in you.” I have found great comfort and consolation in this prayer, especially when I am facing a challenging situation, and I am not sure how things will turn out. I like to pray it three times in a row: “Jesus, I trust in you; Jesus, I trust in you; Jesus, I trust in you.”
Speaking of prayers, I am praying as I write this brief note, that, as you read it, wherever you may be, whatever you may be facing, you will be encouraged to welcome the gift of life that God is giving to you and your wife. May the Lord bless you with His grace, guide you with His wisdom, shield you with His peace, and strengthen you with His joy. And may you always remember, in every situation and circumstance, that you are greatly loved!
All His best, for you and your family,
Deacon Jon Fadely