Yesterday I started listening to the first Holy Responsibility of Christian Fathers message in Art Azurdia‘s The Holy Responsibility Of The Christian Family series. My time was limited, and I only got about 20 minutes into the message, but that 20 minutes affected me more than imaginable. His text for all six messages in this part of the “Family” series is Ephesians 6:4. The two introductory questions with which he begins this specific subtopic for fathers are:
- Do you realize that in fathering a son or daughter, that God in his mysterious providence has given to you the ability to bring into existence a rational soul that will exist in all of eternity in Heaven or Hell? …Though sun, moon, and stars one day cease to shine, when we gaze upon that baby we are looking into the eyes of an everlasting spark that will never be put out. There is no power under God’s throne that could ever cause that soul to cease to exist.
- Do you realize that not only were you just the human source of the eternal soul of your child, but that even more serious, that because of you, that soul is stained by original sin and thus guilty before God?
Here is the point. You as a father are directly responsible for the procreation of your children. Children who possess a soul that will endure for all eternity in Heaven or Hell. And secondly, you are the one directly responsible for setting its disposition in rebellion against God, rendering it guilty before God, you have passed your sin on to them, a sinful condition that will damn them to Hell apart from the intervening grace of God.
… You see, becoming a father is easy. It happens in a moment of passion. Being a father is something altogether different. It is nothing less than a taking up of a cross in a life of self-denial.
This promises to be a challenging and humbling series.