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Thursday, October 22, 2015

God as Father - Eternal and Transcendent

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

By calling God "Father", the language of faith indicates two main things: that God is the first origin of everything and transcendent authority; and that he is at the same time goodness and loving care for all his children. God's parental tenderness can also be expressed by the image of motherhood,62 which emphasizes God's immanence, the intimacy between Creator and creature. The language of faith thus draws on the human experience of parents, who are in a way the first representatives of God for man. But this experience also tells us that human parents are fallible and can disfigure the face of fatherhood and motherhood. We ought therefore to recall that God transcends the human distinction between the sexes. He is neither man nor woman: he is God. He also transcends human fatherhood and motherhood, although he is their origin and standard: no one is father as God is Father.

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I am a child of someone who disfigured the face of fatherhood, though his doing so has long been forgiven by his youngest daughter.  I now have a much better grasp of how the demons of the world can mar our souls and influence our behavior.  In other words, I have a better understanding of the weakness of men because of my own weakness.  I have a better understanding of the need to forgive because of my own need for forgiveness.  I get it now.  It makes more sense.

What I love, however, is meeting men who try their best to not disfigure the face of fatherhood and motherhood.  They impress me.  Flawed though they are, their first priority is not being tough or macho or having a girlfriend (or girlfriends) or making their wives knuckle under to some sort of twisted idea of authority.  Rather, they are constantly looking to how they can improve themselves and so the lives of their family.  Their daughters and their sons matter to them more than how they look to the world.  They care more about forming disciples of Christ then they do about how they are measuring up to worldly success.  Oddly enough, most of these types of men are successful by the world's standards.  It's as though they are rewarded for being stewards rather than owners.  They always seem to have enough; enough food on the table, enough to pay to keep a roof over their heads and the lights and heat on...and if, for some reason, hard times hit they have sowed enough seeds of friendship and good will to have people to count on in times of trouble.

I would suggest that this makes them successful men.

When I think of a father, I picture a man who loves to be surrounded by his offspring without demanding that they only pay attention to him.  I think of a man willing to share his time, his talent and his treasure without asking for anything in return.  I also think of men I know who are like that and how they are never abandoned by their children - no matter how far their progeny may wander they have a close connection to Dad that does not lessen with time or age. 

Today I am praying for a family who recently lost their father to a deadly illness.  I know they are hurting...I know that right now they can hardly believe it has really happened, that Daddy is gone.  I also know that the incredibly foundation he laid for them will hold them steady during this time of sorrow.  I know he will be missed, but I also know they will always think of him with love and a smile.

What a great legacy he left....a legacy of love and a smile.

God, grant Roberto eternal peace.

Roberto, please pray for me and mine before the throne of Jesus.

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