My satisfying spirituality of fatherhood

One of my greatest spiritual pleasures of fatherhood is how I’ve learned to see my Father in heaven loving me in the same way that I love my little Leo.

Whatever ways I delight in Leo become moments of great spiritual joy because I know my Father is delighting similarly in me. It’s what He does, you know? I see my Father mirroring my every action of love towards my son—like a choreographed dance—and it becomes a joyful, virtuous cycle. My day is filled with small heavenward spirals that bring continuous spiritual delight.

This is my daily spirituality of fatherhood.

It happens throughout my day:

It happens when Leo’s having a fit: I sit him on my lap and I spin around his colorful rings/donuts on the floor. He’s captivated by my Daddy Magic—that ability to do things he can’t do himself yet. Then he goes into full-on play mode.

It happens when he babbles his baby talk “DOO-blee-eye BOOD-lee-ays”, and I reply in my best attempt at baby glossolalia.

It happens when I rescue Leo from the pain of 10,000 bites because he obsessively destroys all mounds of sand in sight, even the unsuspecting colonies of those dreadful fire ants.

When I ponder these moments when I love my kid in my earthbound ways, I can’t help but see my Father delighting in me in His heavenly ways. And then I get happier, and then I love Leo all the more: A virtuous cycle that sends my soul into a brief and minute kind of spiritual ecstasy. It’s marvelous, and all it takes is to be aware of this fruit of marriage.

Sure, we can be ultra-philosophical and say that the Father loves us like the perfect Father, that His love is boundless and His Mercy infinite. We could say that He loves us better than any Father could, and his love is beyond all proportion and compare. But that destroys our innate ability to intuit what love is and how love works in humans. Love is best expressed in ‘incarnate’ form, as Jesus himself showed us. And so here is God incarnate again in these tiny moments.

So now I understand: Leo has become my key to dwelling in my Father’s love.

Finally, my daily anxieties, troubles and labors seem absurd compared to these moments of spiritual clarity when I know my place in the universe because I know my son’s place in my life. Even the classical problem of evil/pain seems absurd—yes, it remains a philosophical issue, but an absurd one: It’s love that makes sense, and the world and all its bothers don’t have to make sense when I have this love abiding in me. My place is secure, and this love is enough for this day.

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