Home Economics

By Brian Caulfield

Since financial issues rate high among the problems of divorcing couples, it is reasonable to think that our turbulent economy is causing a degree of marital strife.

But, men, don’t make the mistake of thinking that God called you to be a husband and father only in good times. Remember your wedding words: for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health …

A wise old priest once remarked that most of the couples he prepared for marriage over the course of 40 years heard only one part of the promise: better, richer, health!

Yet why should we expect a life free of troubles and downturns? Now is the time to rise to the occasion and realize that you were made for this moment and the tough times ahead.

I am speaking to myself also when I say, put thoughts of mortgage, investments and 401k aside for one moment and think of Joseph and Mary – and don’t romanticize their situation.

Picture them making the very long trek on foot and donkey from Nazareth, where Joseph had a secure job as a carpenter, to Bethlehem, the town of his ancestors. Mary is pregnant, almost full term. The road is hard, steep and exhausting.

Why are they traveling? The emperor has decreed a tax, the government has reached its hand into the lives of the people, both great and humble, and Mary and Joseph are caught up in this historical moment. Surely Joseph must have thought: Cannot God pave the road a little smoother for the birth of his Son?

I recount the biblical narrative to highlight the role of Joseph as the model of the good father, the father who lived up to his vocation. No word of his is recorded in the Gospels, yet he is a central figure because he ACTS.

The angel says “Go!” and he goes. “Flee with the child” and he flees. “Return” and he goes back to Nazareth.

Christ has not come for us to make money, or to have security (or securities) and boom times. He is a refining fire who will cleanse us of our sins so he can present us as a “pearl of great price” to the Father in heaven. He calls us to repentance in good times and in bad, and usually it’s in bad times that we look for him more ardently – and listen.

Let us work hard, of course, to make the money we need to support and protect our loved ones. But let us love not the money but the ones God has given us. Our wife, our children, our families – our greatest assets.

Hold them close, for the better, even when life takes a turn for the worse.

Brian Caulfield is editor of Fathers for Good.