Sunday was Father’s Day. I was reflecting on God the Father. He is at the very top of everyone’s family tree. We all came from him! I’m guessing that most people pray to Jesus rather than specifically to God the Father. Also, it’s strange that there is no feast in the Church year to honor God the Father. There are plenty for his Son and even more for Mary. Every saint has a feast day. But God the Father? He’s neglected! Let’s imagine what his feast might be called:
Feast of God the Creator, Feast of God the Provider, Feast of God the Protector, Feast of God the Great Lover, Feast of God the Gift-Giver, Feast of God Most Merciful.
Jesus called God his Father. He acknowledged our right to claim his Father as our Father when he told us to pray “Our Father…”. (Sadly last week not one of the three contestants on “Jeopardy” could state the next word after “Our Father, which who art in heaven _____ .”)
In his Angelus address Sunday, Pope Francis spoke about God the Father. His thoughts are inspiring and consoling. Here are some excerpts. . . .
God is near:
“We are not alone on earth, and even in difficulty we do not lose faith. God is not distant, he is a Father, he knows you and he loves you; he wants to take you by the hand, even when you travel on steep and rugged paths, even when you fall and struggle to get up again and get back on track. He, the Lord, is there with you. Indeed, often in the moments when you are at your weakest, you can feel his presence.”
God emboldens us:
“Proclaiming God as close to us is inviting you to think like a child, who walks held by his father’s hand: everything seems different. The world, large and mysterious, becomes familiar and secure, because the child knows he is protected. He is not afraid, and learns how to open up: he meets other people, finds new friends, learns with joy things. Within him grows the desire to do the things he has seen his daddy do. By staying close to God, we conquer fear, we open ourselves to love, we grow in goodness and we feel the need to proclaim.”
A relationship with God changes us:
“If we want to be good apostles, we must be like children: we must sit ‘on God’s lap’ and, from there, look at the world with trust and love, in order to bear witness that God is the Father, that he alone transforms our hearts and gives us that joy and that peace that we ourselves cannot attain.”
A relationship with God is personal, intimate:
“We who believe in God who is close, I wonder: do we confide in him? Do we know how to look forward trustfully, like a child who knows he is held in his father’s arms? Do we know how to sit in the Father’s lap with prayer, by listening to the Word, partaking of the Sacraments? And finally, close to him, do we know how to instill courage in others, to make ourselves close to those who suffer and are alone, to those who are distant and even those who are hostile?”
Here is a beautiful rendition of the sung “Our Father” by Andrea Bocelli and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir:
• What name would you give a feast to celebrate our heavenly Father? Why?