Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Fatherly Love

Another lovely editorial from one of my favorite Catholic evangelists: Mark Hart aka: The Bible Geek.

So much has been written over the centuries about God being our Father. We pray the 'Our Father' at every single Mass. Most of you reading this probably pray it every day - I sure do.

But it's easy to fall into that "trap" sometimes of letting that term "Father" be just that...a term or a 'title' for God, rather than the basis for our relationship with Him.

We could write a long list of traits we look for in a Father or expect from a Father. Many of our lists would stem from traits we see in or desire from our own earthly fathers.

Recently, though, as I was praying and journaling, I began to reflect on things I've learned about the love of a father since becoming a father a few years back. As my wife and I await the arrival (any day now) of our newest baby girl, it's got me to thinking, again, about how a father loves his children.

Here are a few 'truths' I've learned and realized about good fathers:

. Fathers aren't afraid of messes.we learn to expect them.

. Fathers don't like whining. If you really want our help, stop whining and speak to us.

. Fathers know that when things are too quiet.their children must be in sin.

. Fathers want to not only provide for their children, they want to give them more than they deserve.

. Fathers don't base their love on their child's accomplishments. True paternal love is unconditional.

. Fathers love to see themselves reflected in their children (the good things, anyway).

. Fathers desire to have their children in their presence as much as possible.

. Fathers relish in seeing their children share their gifts and talents with the world.

. Fathers would do anything to take their child's pain away.

And if I (in all of my imperfections) feel these things for my own kids, how much more does our Heavenly Father perfect these emotions and feelings with us? (Matthew 6:30-34)

As I journaled, I took these relationship "truths" that I live with my own children and translated them into how God loves me and looks at me. Here's what I came up with, perhaps it will make sense for your life, too:

My Father in Heaven isn't afraid of my messiness. He wants to help me clean it up.
My Father in Heaven doesn't like my whining, He wants me to talk to him.
My Father in Heaven knows I'm sinning, especially when He hasn't heard from me.
My Father in Heaven wants to bless me with more than I truly deserve.
My Father in Heaven loves me unconditionally, not because of what I do.
My Father in Heaven rejoices when I live and act in His Jesus.
My Father in Heaven desires to have me in His presence more often.
My Father in Heaven hopes to see me share my talents (His gifts) with the world.
My Father in Heaven would to anything to take away my pain.even die on a cross.

This is not the fullness of the meaning behind calling God "Abba", but it's a start. The sooner we can re-envision the true, authentic, practical and perfect love of our Heavenly Father, the sooner this verse and the sooner the Lord's Prayer (the Our Father) will hold greater meaning in our everyday lives.

Happy Father's Day (a little early).

Salvation Given
"As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, 'Abba, Father!'" - Galatians 4:6

Your Father loves you. Love Him back.

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