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What Can You Die For? A Note to Catholic Fathers

Everything you do as a person affects your capacity to be a good and effective father, so you must strive to be your very best. As a father, you need to be the epitome of manhood and fatherhood, and who better than Jesus himself to show you the true essence of these roles?

“the best way to live is to live for something you can die for”

A while ago, I asked people to reflect on what they believe in so strongly that they would be willing to die for it. Many of them couldn’t think of anything other than family, which, despite its importance, may not be the highest ideal to strive for. Like Jesus, every man should have a profound belief in something that they are willing to lay down their life for it. For instance, we should believe in God and His law so strongly that we can make sacrifices for it, even to the point of giving up our lives. Paradoxically, this commitment infuses life with purpose: living for something greater than oneself, something worth dying for. So the best way to live is to live for something you can die for.

You can live for your family, which is noble and worthy of sacrifice. However, the question is whether you are genuinely living for them if you are unwilling to sacrifice for their well-being. Here, “dying” does not refer to the literal cessation of life but rather to the daily acts of personal sacrifice that Jesus exemplified—ensuring your family’s safety, providing for their needs, and nurturing them spiritually. Thus, a man must learn to die to self and resist the temptation of seeking self-gratification at every opportunity. This becomes a true test of whether you can genuinely lay down your life for your family—by sacrificing your desires and putting their well-being above yours every day.

The relationship between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit serves as a model. Their internal activity by which the Father begets the Son and both spirate the Holy Spirit. This inner work, “opera ad intra,” is the source of every divine work external to God (“opera ad extra”). Similarly, the relationship a man has with himself and his wife forms the foundation from which children spring forth and draw sustenance for most of their lives. As a Catholic father, you are responsible for striving for holiness so that the waters flowing from your soul are pure and life-giving.

Every father is called to emulate Jesus, who transcended his selfishness and personal pride in serving others while fervently defending his father’s house when needed. Therefore, a father must strive to embody the qualities of calmness like a dove, wisdom like a serpent, and fierceness like a lion.

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Kenneth C. Alimba

Kenneth C. Alimba is a Catholic who believes that the only RIGHT way to view the world is through the eyes of God - so he spends his life teaching people how to attempt to make this a habit as he tries to do the same.

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