Pope Francis has encouraged fathers to be a daily example of love and integrity for their children.
Addressing the pilgrims gathered in the Paul VI Hall for the weekly General Audience, the Pope continued his catechesis on the family, reflecting in particular on the dignity and role of fathers.
Referring to the Book of Proverbs which speaks of the joy and pride which fathers feel as they see their children mature in wisdom and rectitude, the Pope said these words sum up the demanding but indispensable role of fathers in the family and in society as a whole.
Pointing out that a good father must discipline his own heart in order to deal patiently with his children in their growth to maturity, he said fathers teach their children by giving a daily example of love and integrity.
And lamenting the fact that in our society father figures are often absent, Pope Francis said it is essential for fathers to be present and fully engaged in the life of the family.
The Pope said that Jesus points to God our Father as the model of all fatherhood, and that like the father of the prodigal son, God waits patiently for his children to return home, and with mercy and forgiveness he is always there to welcome them back whenever they stray.
Expressing gratitude and support to all Christian fathers, he encouraged them to strive, like Saint Joseph, to protect their children and to teach them wisdom, faith and integrity.