Recently I was speaking to a senior priest before the ordination of our brothers to the priesthood and he said to me, referring to my responsibility as Novice Director, “Ah yes, fatherhood. It is holding on and letting go at the same time.”
I’ve been really pondering that as I accompany the novices and the time of the vows approaches and I consider receiving 9 new men into the friary in Newark. How much do I need to learn from God the Father to love them in such a way that I am both holding on in the right way to guide, correct, affirm, teach and encourage, while at the same time letting go in the context of their freedom to choose, to mature and to grow into the men God calls them to be.
It is a mystery all parents encounter, both natural and spiritual. And it seems to me in this day and age with the challenges we face it is all the more important to learn to love this way from Jesus and from the Father. Perhaps we can pray for each other to learn this and help His grace to come to our world a little more each day.
- Fr. Francis Mary, CFR