Author: Sam Guzman
Source: The Catholic Gentlemen
Scripture begins with the story of creation. God pours out his creativity and handiwork on the world, filling it with life and abundance. On the final day of creation, God creates mankind, made in his own image, as the culmination and the crown of his labors.
God then admires his work, granting it the primordial blessing: “It is very good” (Gen. 1:31).
In the creation story, we see that blessing is nothing other than declaring something’s inherent worth and innate goodness. When God blesses creation, he proclaims it “very good.”
Likewise, when we bless God we declare him goodness itself; the source of all that is, the eternal fountainhead of life and joy.
Within each of us is a desire to be blessed. That is, we long to know that, beyond the accidents of personality or appearance, the core of our being is good, even very good. We desire someone to tell us that it is good that you exist.
We want—no, need—to know that we are not a mistake; that we are not flawed or unworthy of love.
If we do not receive this blessing, it is deeply painful to us, though this pain often remains unconscious. Without this blessing, we can develop all kinds of harmful and even pathological behaviors in the quest to find the affirmation we crave.
The greatest gift a father can give a child, especially his son, is his blessing. A father is uniquely positioned to grant this blessing, for the moment a child becomes aware of his father’s existence, he desires his affirmation, his approval, and his love.
Fathers, bless your children. Clearly communicate to them in word and in deed that: “It is good that you exist. Beyond your skills, your performance, or your intelligence, beyond anything that you do, I delight in you. I possess a love for you that cannot be earned, but that flows from the fact that you are good and lovable at the core of who you are.”
What life-giving truths! How many of our lives would be different if we had been blessed in such a way.
A father’s blessing is communicated beyond words. More often, it is bestowed through gift of attention, the gift of presence, the gift of listening. It is found in rejecting the fatherly tendency to make our children in our own image; to force them to achieve some distant measure of success; to compel them to become what we failed to be.
“You may not be rich; you may be unable to bequeath any great possessions to your children,” said St. Ambrose, “but one thing you can give them: the heritage of your blessing. And it is better to be blessed than to be rich.”
The crisis of our culture is a culture of fatherhood. Weak, absent, or even abusive fathers are largely responsible for the decay of society, and there is research to prove it. The healing of the culture, then, will only flow from fatherhood truly embraced and lived. It will flow from fathers who bless their children, not only in word but in deed.