Wojtyla: Reflections on Fatherhood

From: “Reflections on Fatherhood” (1964), in The Collected Plays and Writings on the Theater (University of California, 1987), pp. 365-368:

Ex quo omnis paternitas in coelis
et in terra nominatur [Eph 3:15]  [translation from Jerusalem Bible: “This, then, is what I pray, kneeling before the Father, from whom every family, whether spiritual or natural, takes its name.”] . . .

After a long time I came to understand that You do not want me to be a father if I am not also a son. The son is wholly Yours; You always think “mine” about him. And You utter this word with absolute justification, with credibility. Without such credibility the word “mine” is a risk; love is a risk also. Why did you inflict on me the love that in me must be a risk? And now your Son takes on Himself all the risk of fatherly love in relation to everything outside of Himself. How much the word “mine” must hurt when what it describes turns out later not to be mine. I think with awe about the strain and toil of Your Son, about the magnitude of His love. How much did He take on Himself? . . .

How could I become a son? I did not want to be him. I did not want to accept the suffering caused by risking love. I thought I would not be equal to it. My eyes were too fixed on myself, on my ego and its possibilities alone. . . .

To absorb the radiation of fatherhood means not only to become a father but, much more, to become a child (become a son). Being the father of many, many people, I must be a child: the more I am father, the more I become a child..

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