I guess I just feel funny receiving Fathers' Day wishes. It goes against something inside me, but I can't quite articulate it yet.
Certainly there is a lot of spiritual fatherhood and motherhood in the order of grace. In any devout life we are given many mothers and fathers along the way, helping to conceive us as the new creations Christ calls us to be. Priests are supposed to be ministers of this spiritual fatherhood in a particular and intense way.
But for any ministering celibate--not just priests--this call to parenthood in the order of grace is always bound up with the darkness and obscurity of the renunciation of ordinary generativity. Done well, this emptiness and obscurity becomes a mystical contact with the Source of all, a kind of superfecund coincidence of opposites. Done poorly, well we know what disasters come from that.
Like any experience of true prayer, the intersection of spiritual parenthood and celibate chastity is a place both terrifying and sublime, and an experience of the Light Who is so bright that our minds and hearts can only see It as darkness.
I guess none of this explains why I feel funny when someone wishes me a happy Fathers' Day, but it's a start.
So go ahead, I guess, and wish your priest a happy Fathers' Day. But don't forget your mothers in the spiritual order on Mothers' Day either.