Show us the Father and that shall be enough for us” (John 14:8).
The Apostle Philip professed these words to Christ in the Upper Room during the Last Supper. Apparently something in Philip’s heart was not satisfied. Christ rebuked him saying, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).
Philip did not fully understand that Jesus Christ himself was the Revelation of the Father. Nonetheless, Philip teaches us an invaluable lesson that the ultimate desire of the human heart is to be with God our Father, to glimpse the face of God and live. St. Augustine reaffirms this reality that resides in all of us, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in thee.” To put this in perspective, Philip had previously witnessed the multiplication of the loaves, a blind man receiving sight, a paralyzed man rise up and walk, the calming of a storm, his friend Peter walk on water and even a dead man raised to life. What more could Philip possibly have wanted to see?
The desire to see the Father is a universal truth written into our hearts. The human heart thirsts for union with the infinite God, the source of life, love and superabundant mercy, and therefore cannot be fully satisfied with anything less. This perpetual yearning is part of the poverty we must face during our journey back to the Father.
When you consider these truths, the words of St. John Paul II come alive in a profound way when he says, “In revealing and in reliving on earth the very fatherhood of God, a man is called upon to ensure the harmonious and united development of all the members of the family” (Pope John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, #25).
Wow! What dignity! What responsibility! What a noble and meaningful calling and vocation to which we all can strive!
Amazingly, by this definition, Joseph had the singular dignity to relive and reveal on Earth the very fatherhood of God to Jesus himself. God hand-picked Joseph for this vocation. Therefore, when the Christ-child looked up in admiration at his earthly father, he saw a man who was rich in mercy and love. Jesus saw a man who constantly poured himself out in sacrifice for the good of others. Second only to Jesus Himself, Joseph lived the words of St. John Paul II more fully and completely than any other man in history.
Joseph was chosen by God for Jesus. Correspondingly, you were chosen by God for your children (or future children). You are called to become the revelation of the Father. When your children see you, they should see a man so entirely in love with God the Father that you manifest his love. They must see a man who regularly receives the mercy of God himself, so that you may manifest his mercy to others.
Unfortunately, many men have a wounded image of God because of the shortcomings of their own earthly father. Countless fathers have fouled up their fatherly vocation and fall short of this description of fatherhood. If your earthly father has wounded your image of God, draw closer to St. Joseph, who will point you in the direction of your Father in heaven. He will also lead you to his Son, the ultimate revelation of the Father.
Heavenly Father, my heart is restless until it rests in you. You are my ultimate desire. Help me never to settle for anything less. Instill a hunger in me to draw closer to you so that I may be filled with your love and mercy. Your grace is sufficient, Lord. You are enough. Amen.
St. Joseph, reveal to me Christ’s hidden face present in my children. Teach me to manifest for them the Father who is rich in mercy. Amen.