the father's love
"Our Father..." —Matthew 6:9
I have six children. They all call me "Dad." For many years, I have tried to follow the example of our heavenly Father and anticipate the needs of each child (see Mt 6:8). After all these years of lovingly building relationships with them, it would grieve me if one of my children stiffly addressed me as "Sir." I would feel as if they no longer remembered that I loved them. Hopefully, my children don't worry about having a place to stay or food to eat. If children can trust an earthly father, how much more should we trust our heavenly Father to provide for us? (Mt 7:11)
Perhaps Jesus' most radical teaching is His revelation that we are to address God as "our Father" (Mt 6:9). Jesus taught that God our Father so loves us that He drops His dignity, runs to us even when we are least lovable, and celebrates our repentance (Lk 15:20ff). When we are not worthy of His love, Jesus reminds us that our heavenly Father "so loved the world" and each one of us "that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him may not die but may have eternal life" (Jn 3:16).
Jesus began Lent by hearing that He was the Beloved Son of His heavenly Father (Lk 3:22). In this initial part of Lent, imitate Jesus by focusing on your heavenly Father's love for you. Thus confirmed as His beloved sons and daughters, you will trust Him enough to let Him lead you through His Lenten discipline without questioning His love for you (see Heb 12:5-10).
Prayer: Father, pour out Your love in my heart through the Holy Spirit (Rm 5:5). May Your love bear great fruit through me.
Promise: "Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him." —Mt 6:8
Praise: It wasn't until Maria experienced God as Father — Provider and Protector — that her faith grew in remarkable ways. Now it often takes her several minutes to pray an Our Father.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 3, 2006 & September 18, 2006
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