Radiation of Fatherhood

As I have progressed on the journey of self discovery that I call my life, I have realized that my identity as a man is both self discovered and revealed. One of the most surprising revelations I have experienced so far is how intrinsically the concepts of manhood and fatherhood are tied together.

In 1964, a playwright named Karol Wojtyla penned his play Radiation of Fatherhood: a Mystery. This play was the last that he wrote and was more of a philosophical and anthropological meditation compared to the plays we are used to seeing today. In this play, the main character of Adam (who is a self identified “everyman”) searches for his meaning. David Blankenhorn summarized this play, stating “men must seek to let the perfect paternity of God the Father radiate through the frail man, understanding that the human father is genuinely authoritative only to the degree that he himself is under authority, recognizing himself as God’s obedient son.” In reading this manuscript, I came to see that it was impossible to understand and be “Father” without knowing God our Father, and it was impossible to know what it means to be “a man” unless I look at the one who created me to be a man.

In reading “Radiation of Fatherhood”, I also learned that identity is revealed through the complementarity of woman as well as the reflection of children. So, to know more fully who I am and who I am called to be, I need an understanding of woman and child as well. At the point of my first reading of this manuscript, I was not married and had no children, so this point seemed slightly problematic. Now, five years later, I am married with two boys. I now also understand that it does not take the act of being married or having biological children to come to knowledge of what it means to be a man. It is important however, to broaden your view beyond yourself if you fully want to understand what it means to be a man.

If you have not read “Radiation of Fatherhood” yet, I encourage you to do so. It is available here. It sheds a whole new light on our understanding of “father”.


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