Dads have a huge impact on their kids. We know that, but it bears repeating. Of course, it is also nice to have it backed up by science. There is also research regarding faith, fathers and their children that holds this out, too. So it saddens me to no end when I look around the pews, march with the Corpus Christi procession and go to the Adoration chapel, and I almost never see other men my age.
I have always tried to be the best father my kids could ask for. And I honestly think that in every man’s heart, that’s what he wants, too. Kids or not, good father or not, physically present or not…I think that if you talk to any man long enough and he gets honest enough, he wants to be a good father. A great father. The guy that chooses to not be around his kids is driven by a feeling of unpreparedness, inadequacy, fear or some other perceived insufficiency. That hombre we all know one or two (or twenty) of that works too hard often has the same fears as not-around-dad. The difference here is that he decides that the only thing he has to offer is “providing”.
That was often my escape.
But I was at Mass every Sunday. Even when my faith was weak – or I wanted it to be weak to excuse my behavior – I was at Mass with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 kids in tow. (By the time 6, 7, 8 came along, I was no longer like this.)
Present fathers got me thinking
God never directly wills evil. He may allow evil (Job, anybody?), but God will never initiate the evil. What God does very often, though, is work unforeseeable good from unconscionable evil. But his unperverted plan is obviously better. We won’t know until we are in the Beatific Vision what fantastic things he had in store with us before The Fall. But I can promise everyone that it was better than this life we live now.
And that gets me thinking about people like St. Augustine. His mother’s feast day is tomorrow. And his is the next day. Growing up, Augustine’s father was not a Christian. Didn’t become one until very near death. What if he was all along? What if Augustine had been baptized as a child or infant? What if Augustine, his brother and his sister had been raised in a fertile Christian environment? Certainly God would have preferred a happy, but unremarkable family over a turbulent family marked with adultery and parental disagreements about how to raise the children. I personally believe that had something like this happened, the ultimate world-wide effect would have been largely the same as Monica and Augustine living virtuous lives worthy of veneration. Just not as historically and culturally OOMPH-y.
What do you think? Does God work greater things than would have been from evil, or does God work greater things in comparison to the deficit left by the evil, arriving at the same “level” of goodness? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments.