The “mystery” of the fatherhood (and motherhood) of God
Following up Pope Francis’ “exploration” into the Our Father
- “The first part of this lesson is precisely the Our Father. Pray thus: ‘Father, Who art in Heaven’. ‘Father’: that word which is so beautiful to say. We can always remain in prayer with that word alone: ‘Father’. And to feel that we have a father: not a master nor a step-father. No: a father.. (Below, Pope Francis also uses the image of a mother’s love.)
- “In the first words of the ‘Our Father’ we immediately find the radical newness of Christian prayer. Saying ‘Abba’ is something much more intimate, more moving than simply calling God ‘Father’….with the heart we are invited to say ‘Dad’, to have a relationship with God like that of a child with his dad, who says ‘dad’ and says ‘papa’. “
- “Indeed, these expressions evoke affection, they evoke warmth, something that casts us into the context of childhood: the image of a child completely enveloped in the embrace of a father who feels infinite tenderness for him. And for this reason, dear brothers and sisters, in order to pray properly, one must come to have a child’s heart. Not a self-sufficient heart: one cannot pray properly this way. Like a child in the arms of his father, of his dad, of his papa” [or Mama?]
- “In that parable (Prodigal Son) the father’s manner of conduct somehow recalls the spirit of a mother. It is especially mothers who excuse their children, who protect them, who do not suspend empathy for them, who continue to love them, even when they would no longer deserve anything.
- “To understand to what measure God is father to us, let us consider the figures of our parents, but in some measure we must always ‘refine them’, purify them… when we speak of God as ‘father’, as we consider the image of our parents, especially if they loved us, at the same time we must go further.”
- “… another type of love exists, that of the Father “who art in Heaven”. No one should doubt being the recipient of this love. He loves us. We can say: “He loves me”. Even had our father and mother not loved us — an historical hypothesis — , there is a God in heaven who loves us like no one else in this world ever has or ever can. God’s love is constant.”
- “The prophet Isaiah says: “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have graven you on the palms of my hands”, (Is 49:15-16).”
- “Tattoos are in fashion today: “I have graven you on the palms of my hands”. I have tattooed you on my hands. Thus, I am in God’s hands; it cannot be removed.
- “God’s love is like a mother’s love that can never be forgotten. And if a mother forgets? “I will never forget”, says the Lord. This is God’s perfect love. This is how we are loved by him.”
- “Even if all our earthly loves were to crumble and we were left with nothing but dust in our hands; God’s unique and faithful love is always burning for all of us.”
- “This is why we pray by saying: “Hallowed be thy name!”. In this request — the first one! “Hallowed be thy name! — one feels all Jesus’ admiration for the beauty and greatness of the Father, and the wish that everyone recognize and love him for what he truly is.”
See the first two posts in this series…
Click below for an audio version of this Vincentian Mindwalk