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Din Djarin and Spiritual Fatherhood

Din Djarin and Spiritual Fatherhood

Warning: contains spoilers for The Mandalorian Season 2


Under a fan-made YouTube tribute to Grogu and Din Djarin from The Mandalorian, someone commented: “It’s the greatest love story of 2020.” (handle: Denvy Zhang, Youtube).  This spot-on observation speaks to a deeper truth. The ultimate love story of salvation history is between our Father and us, his children.  Every love story of a father-child relationship here on earth, whether with a biological father or a spiritual father, serves as a revelation of the truth of our Father’s love for us.


This is the year of Saint Joseph, the spiritual father par excellence of Christ and of the Church.  It’s timely that The Mandalorian is reawakening in viewers an awareness of the strength and meaning behind the real vulnerability of spiritual fatherhood. Spiritual fatherhood is a fundamental part of a man’s vocation to reveal, in some way, God’s fatherhood to us. Through the first two seasons of The Mandalorian, Din Djarin (also known simply as ‘Mando’) slowly grows into spiritual fatherhood. While he may not live it perfectly, we see him begin to reflect the fatherhood of Saint Joseph, and ultimately the fatherhood of God himself, in three particular ways.


  1. Our Father Calls Us by Name

"The Mandalorian" by Disney+ © 2020. All rights reserved. 

“I have called you by name, you are mine.” - Isaiah 43:1


Names are important. In fact, sometimes God even changes people’s names.  The Lord speaks life, and when he calls us by name, he speaks life into us. When he calls our name, he does so in pure love.  When he gives us a name, he does so as a promise of who he will be to us in our lives.  The name he speaks to us is sacred, telling us who we are to him and who he is to us. And he delights in calling it!


“You are to name him Jesus” – Matthew 1:21


While Saint Joseph had no biological part to play in fathering Jesus, he was entrusted by God with the sacred duty of naming the child.  And Joseph declared, with trust and with joy, that this boy would be called “God Saves,” Yeshua. Joseph spent the rest of his life proclaiming this truth over and over, even in times of hardship and fear, each time he called that name in love.  Truly, Joseph rejoiced in calling this little boy of his by name.


“Grogu.” – Din Djarin, The Mandalorian Season 2

Din Djarin doesn’t name the child, but rather discovers the child’s name from the Jedi Ahsoka Tano.  When Din Djarin realizes that speaking it brings the kid to full attention, he begins calling “Grogu” just to see the little one come to life.  In one particularly moving scene, Din Djarin and Grogu are alone on the Razor Crest spacecraft, and Din Djarin starts to say “Grogu” over and over, chuckling each time Grogu looks up with a keen response. Din Djarin is growing into the fatherly joy and wonder of nurturing the life of his son simply by calling him by name in love.


  1. Our Father Protects and Nurtures Us, to the Point of Total Sacrifice

"The Mandalorian" by Disney+ © 2020. All rights reserved. 

“Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases…by his bruises we are healed” - Isaiah 53:4-5


Over and over in the Bible, we see God nurturing and protecting his people. In the book of Hosea, we can read how tender his nurturing love is as he compares himself to someone who lifts an infant to their cheeks. Yet his love is also fiercely protective, and we see the Lord constantly protecting his people, to the point of total self-sacrifice. When we read that God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son (John 3:16), we realize that the Lord was willing to lay down everything - his own dignity, his own comfort, his own life – to save his children.  And that’s exactly what he did.  He who is all-powerful made himself totally vulnerable, allowing himself to be wounded by us, his children, in order to be fully present with us and to save us through his love.


“Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt.” – Matthew 2:14


When Joseph was entrusted with being a father to Jesus, his quiet “yes” cost him everything.  When he took an already-pregnant Mary into his home, he sacrificed the dignity of his reputation.  When he spirited Jesus and Mary to Egypt to keep his son safe, he sacrificed the comfort of home and homeland.  When he brought Jesus and Mary back to Nazareth, he laid down the rest of his by life quietly dedicating each moment to the development of his growing son.  Joseph truly laid down everything he had to nurture and protect Jesus, making himself completely vulnerable to the dangers of being a refugee in a foreign land and to the opinions of others in his small town.  He also made himself vulnerable to being hurt by Jesus: we see him frantic as he and Mary try to find their lost twelve-year-old after a trip to Jerusalem. But Joseph makes himself vulnerable in order to be fully present to his son, and to protect him in love until the end.


“You are like a father to him.”  - Ahsoka Tano, The Mandalorian Season 2


When Ahsoka Tano saw the tenderness that Din Djarin had for the child, she understood the deep attachment that Grogu had formed.  But she hadn’t seen the half of it. By the end of Season 2, we see Din Djarin reach the height of vulnerability as he sacrifices everything to protect and nurture Grogu.  When Din Djarin fails to turn in the child to complete his mission, he sacrifices the dignity of his bounty hunter reputation.  When his ship, the Razor Crest, is targeted by Imperial troops, he sacrifices his only home to protect the kid. And when he removes his helmet for his son to see and touch him, he gives up his life as a Mandalorian of the Creed in which he was raised.  He even opens himself to being hurt by Grogu, allowing a force shield Grogu unwittingly creates to repel him into rocks again and again in his attempts to get the child to safety. Din Djarin vulnerably sacrifices everything to give Grogu a life with the love and security that he deserves.


  1. Our Father Shows Us His Face

"The Mandalorian" by Disney+ © 2020. All rights reserved. 

“Your face, Lord, do I seek. Do not hide your face from me.” -Psalm 27:8-9


In the Old Testament, the face of God is veiled. Our sinfulness prevents us from being able to see his glory.  Yet the desire to see the face of their most Beloved is expressed by many in the Bible, and several marvel at having seen the Lord face to face (Jacob, Moses, Gideon).  When Philip dares to ask Jesus to show them the Father, Jesus reveals something astonishing: anyone who has seen him has seen the Father – he is the human face of our Divine Father (John 14:9).  Saint Paul reminds every longing heart that we will see the Father face to face one day and know fully as we are fully known (1 Cor 13:12). We do not deserve to see God’s face.  Rather, the Lord’s revelation of his face to us is an invitation to intimacy with one so much greater than us, yet who bends down to meet us out of nothing but love.  The face of our Father is the most beautiful thing we can ever know, because it is the most intimate and holds the most love.


“…he was afraid…” – Matthew 2:22


Joseph truly revealed his face to Jesus.  When he was excited, worried, proud, frustrated, tired, amused, or afraid, Jesus could see it all on the face of his foster father.  When Jesus was a baby, Joseph would have let the little one explore his face with his little hands, getting to know every line and wrinkle.  When Jesus grew older, Joseph would have flashed him secret signals with a mere glance, since his son knew that face so intimately as to understand each expression.  As Joseph allowed his face to be so known by his son, he let his face reflect the intimacy of the Father with the Son, and he allowed himself to be known by his Lord.  This intimacy is what allowed Jesus a home in Nazareth, and what shaped some of the physical mannerisms that would go on to touch people in their interactions with their Messiah in years to come.


“…” – The Mandalorian, Season 2


Silence sums up the words that could describe the moment when Din Djarin removes his helmet to let Grogu see his face.


According to the Creed Din Djarin lived by, he was not supposed to remove his helmet to show his face to any other living being.  The first time in the series when Din Djarin has his helmet removed, it is by a robot for medical intervention, not to show himself to another being.  The second time he removes his helmet, it is to be scanned by a computer that allows for an information transfer, not to show himself to another being (although people did see him).  But in this final climactic scene, Din Djarin doesn’t remove his helmet for some utilitarian purpose – he removes it in an act of pure intimacy.  He removes it to let his son, the person he treasures most, see his face, so that Grogu would truly know how much he was loved.  In this act, he proves the words he spoke to the villain, Moff Gideon: “He means more to me than you will ever know.”


We mean more to our heavenly Father than we know.  He is calling us by name, he is laying down everything to protect and nurture us, and he is revealing his face to us.  As baby Jesus did with Joseph, and as Grogu did with Din Djarin, we have only to look up and see, to reach out and touch, and to allow our own face to reflect our Father’s joy.



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