NOT TO BE AFRAID OF OUR LOVING FATHER

It is important to realise that in loving us, our Father makes himself vulnerable. We can see this especially in the Passion of his Son. A very sensitive point for the Father’s Heart is when we have a false respect for Him, derived from fear of God, which then tends to manifest itself also in the relationship with His ecclesiastical representatives.

As important as reverence and due respect for God is, it is totally wrong to be afraid of a loving Father. In the Message to Sister Eugenia, He speaks about it in these terms:

“If you love Me as faithful children, you will also have loving and obedient respect for My Church and My representatives. Not a respect such as you show now, which keeps you distant from Me because you are afraid of Me. This false respect that you have now is an injustice to justice, it is a wound you cause to the most sensitive part of My Heart; you are forgetting, scorning, My fatherly love for you”.

Can we not perhaps understand this from our own human experience? Suppose we love a person with all our heart, but he is afraid of us and distrustful of us. Surely this would wound us! It is the same in our relationship with our Father… Our trust honours Him and fills His heart with joy. False respect, on the other hand, distances us from Him and erects barriers. The devil, for his part, uses this attitude of ours for his dark plans.

Let us listen again to the voice of the Father:

“What most grieved Me about My people, Israel, and what most afflicts Me still about present-day humanity, is this ill-conceived respect you have of Me. Man’s enemy has, in fact, used it to lead him to fall into idolatry and schisms. He is still using it and will continue to use it against you to keep you distant from the truth, from My Church and from Me. Oh, do not allow yourselves to be led any longer by the enemy; believe in the truth that is being revealed to you and walk in the light of this truth!”

We are called to proclaim this loving God and to bear witness to Him, so that people may overcome all false impressions and images of God. It is the Father’s deep desire that people should know, honour and love Him as He truly is. Only then can this marvellous love of God for us unfold in fullness, rejoicing our hearts to the very depths. From this fountain will then flow a living water, which will reach the souls of the thirsty and quench their thirst.

THE TRUE IMAGE OF GOD

How many false images of God prevent us from returning with confidence to our Heavenly Father!

Already in Paradise the Devil gave our first parents to understand that God would not grant him the knowledge of good and evil.

The forces of darkness continued to sow these lies about God, so that not infrequently an unjust and hurtful distrust towards the Heavenly Father has arisen in people. He himself addresses this in his Message to Mother Eugenia Ravasio:

“Most of the unbelievers, the impious and various communities remain in their iniquity and unbelief because they think that I am asking the impossible of them, that they have to submit to My commands like slaves of a tyrannical lord, whose power and pride keep him distant from his subjects, to oblige them to show Him respect and devotion. No, no, My children! I know how to make Myself small, far smaller than you can imagine”.

That is why it is so important to convey the true image of our Heavenly Father, such as He really is, so that souls may be conquered by love. This in no way means that He is a God who leaves man to decide for himself what is good and what is evil, thus turning his life upside down. On the contrary, our Father’s love makes us realise that we can only find the deepest meaning of our existence when we move within the framework of his commandments. This is what he tells us further on:

“What I do require is the faithful observance of the commandments I gave the Church, so that you will be rational creatures and will not be like animals because of your lack of discipline and your evil inclinations, so that you will preserve the treasure which is the soul I gave you, clothed in the fullness of its divine beauty!”

We must not lose the beauty that God has given us! This is our Father’s great concern for us. He wants us to take in and receive all that He has prepared for us and that we do not get lost.

THE FERVOUR OF THE RIGHTEOUS

When we accept and internalise the love of our Heavenly Father, when God Himself dwells in us and His Holy Spirit transforms us, then we come to know our Father’s heart more and more. Very soon we will notice that He has an urgent desire to make His love known to all people.

But on whom can He count for this? In the Father’s Message He tells us:

“If there is something that I desire, above all now, it is simply to see more fervour on the part of the just, a smooth path for the conversion of sinners, sincere and persevering conversion…”

So, then, the fruitfulness of evangelisation depends also on our fervour. Is it not the Holy Spirit Himself who moves us to co-operate in it, so that this desire of the Father may come to fulfilment?

“[I desire] the return of the prodigal sons to their Father’s house. I am referring in particular to the Jews and to all others who are My creatures and children, such as the schismatics, the heretics, the freemasons, the poor infidels, the sacrilegious, and the various secret sects. I want this whole world to know that there is a God and a Creator. This God, Who will address their ignorance twice over, is un-known to them; they do not know that I am their Father”.

No one is excluded from the love of God, which seeks man to return home, to be snatched from perdition and to change his life through conversion.

However, messengers are needed, who courageously and yet with sensitivity proclaim the Father as He really is.

Whom can God send? You and me, so that these words of the Father may become a reality:

“Believe Me, you who are listening to Me as you read these words: if all men who are far from our Catholic Church heard people talking about this Father Who loves them, Who is their Creator and their God, about this Father Who desires to give them eternal life, then many of these men, even the most obstinate ones, would come to this Father of Whom you had spoken to them.”

OUR TRUST

When we have come to know a little of God’s love and have come to understand His goodness more and more, the desire to reciprocate His love increases in us. The Father wants us to know Him, to honour Him and to love Him. And how are we to do this?

Let us listen to God the Father’s answer to Mother Eugenia:

“With regard to the means of honouring Me as I desire, all I ask of you is great confidence. Do not think I want austerities or mortifications; I do not want you to walk barefoot or to lay your faces in the dust, or to cover your-selves with ashes. No, no! My dearest wish is that you behave as My children, simply and trusting in Me!”

So, what the Lord expects of us is not, in the first instance, external ascetic practices, however important and necessary these may be in certain circumstances. It is something much deeper: our trust.

In asking for our trust, the Father is asking for our heart, our genuine and simple surrender to Him. Indeed, we honour Him when we simply trust Him, for then we believe in His love and give Him the right response.

This trust binds us even more to God than all the good works we can do for Him! If we give the Father our unconditional trust, we also detach ourselves from all forms of disordered self-determination and our tendency to want to take our life into our own hands.

Trusting in God means receiving life from His hands: every day, every hour… And this path leads us to freedom and gratitude.

Let us ask Him, for example, in the mornings: “What is your plan for today, beloved Father? I trust in You!”

Then, this attitude of trust will permeate our whole existence, and the foundation on which we build our life will become more and more secure. Moreover, we honour our Father when we accept life in this way and fulfil the mission He has entrusted to us as His children.

TO CONQUER SOULS BY LOVE

We are called to bring to people the message that God loves them infinitely, and to show them the ways which the Heavenly Father has chosen to give them the certainty of this love.

It pleases God to involve us in this noble task, thus making us His co-workers.

Who would not like to tell about a sovereign who truly deserves this name; a sovereign who is at the same time father, brother and friend to us; a sovereign who does not need to be idealised ….; a king who loves?

He is great in Himself, but in His goodness He reaches down to us.

In the Letter to the Philippians St. Paul writes:

“Christ Jesus, being in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped.But he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, becoming as human beings are …” (Phil 2:6-7).

First of all, we must get to know God more deeply, day by day, so that we can better tell people how He really is. But then we must not hesitate, but try to reach out to people in every possible way.

In the Message to Mother Eugenia Ravasio, the Father tells us:

“If you cannot go to them and talk to them directly, look for other means: thousands of direct and indirect ways. Put them into effect with the true spirit of disciples and with great fervour. I promise you that your efforts will soon be crowned with success by a special grace. Make yourselves apostles of My fatherly goodness and, because of the zeal I will give you all, you will be strong and powerful in your work among souls (…) I will put your listeners in the right frame of mind to hear you. In this way, men will be conquered by love and saved for all eternity”.

THAT ALL MAY BE ONE

Indeed, one would think that in all those parts of the world that have been blessed with the announcement of the Christian faith, as well as the regions marked by Judaism and those where there is knowledge of the Old Testament scriptures, God should be recognised as loving Father.

Certainly this is partly the case… But does this knowledge really go deep? Is the encounter with God truly the experience that rejoices the heart and permeates everything; the experience that sets us in motion to speak of this God to all people?

In the book of Hosea (11:1,3-4) the Lord says:

“When Israel was a child I loved him, and I called my son out of Egypt. I myself taught Ephraim to walk, I myself took them by the arm, but they did not know that I was the one caring for them, that I was leading them with human ties, with leading-strings of love, that, with them, I was like someone lifting an infant to his cheek, and that I bent down to feed him.”

Even more evidently the fatherhood of God is manifested in the coming of his Son into the world: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9).

What would happen if people were to meet God as He really is, if they were to become aware of His fatherly love, if all the false images they still have of Him were to be overcome and people were to really come into contact with Him?

Certainly many who do not yet know God or who have wrong conceptions about Him would turn to Him. This would dispel the idea of an excessively severe God, but also that overly sweet image of God which presents Him to us as if our Father did not take man’s sin seriously.

Many would return home, leaving behind the powers of darkness. God’s light would spread and true brotherhood would emerge among men, under the loving gaze of the Heavenly Father.

A dream? A utopia?

No! This is what God wants:

“May they all be one, just as, Father, you are in me and I am in you, so that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me.” (Jn 17:21).

TO KNOW GOD

Why, beloved Father, do you want us to know you, honour you and love you, as you told Mother Eugenia Ravasio? If You possess fullness in Yourself and lack nothing…

But You Yourself give us the answer:
“It is not because I need My creature and his adoration that I desire to be known, honoured and loved; the only reason why I am stooping down to him is to save him and give him a share in My glory.”

Now I understand it better: the reason You want to be known, honoured and loved is so that You can grant us all that You have prepared for us. So in You we find selfless love; a love that gives itself even though it has no need of us.

It is necessary that we first learn to understand this love more deeply. That is why You mention first of all that we must know You. It is the knowledge of how you really are, free from false images of yourself.

To know You is life; moreover, eternal life, just as Your Son taught us:

“Eternal life is this: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (Jn 17:3)

And the more we come to know You, the more You can communicate to us. To love You means to follow You in all that You entrust to us, to keep Your commandments, to love Your precepts, to give our hearts to You and thus to correspond to Your love.

Then love grows without limits and the words of Jesus become true: “Anyone who has will be given more” (Mt 13:12).

Then nothing will be difficult any more, because love will sustain us.

To honour you, Father, is the most natural duty of love for your children, for we have received everything from your hands.

The angels and saints also know this, with whom we bow before you in joy and reverence, for you are the one true God.

And in honouring your glory, we become more and more aware of your majesty and rid ourselves of all recklessness and frivolity.

GOD´S GREATEST GIFT

What great mercy you had towards us in sending us your Son Jesus! With incomparable love you set your gaze upon us, who so often run away from you or even turn against you, who offend you with our sins or simply forget you. You, on the other hand, are always present and look at us with love. You care attentively for us, because you do not want us to lead a meaningless life, let alone to be lost forever.

Even the Creation that surrounds us sings the hymn of your beauty, and what great delight it can evoke in us as we discover the inexhaustible variety that you have prepared for us! Is it not so that the whole of Creation is offered to us like the table that a loving woman prepares for her loved ones, only more beautiful?

And if the gift of Creation is an immeasurable token of your love, how much more do you give us in Jesus!

And He loves you with all the ardour of His Heart. There is nothing He desires more fervently than to make Your love known to men. There is nothing He desires more ardently than to glorify You and to fulfil Your Will.

In his farewell discourse, raising his eyes to heaven, Jesus testifies: “I have glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do… I have made your name known to them and will continue to make it known, so that the love with which you loved me may be in them, and so that I may be in them” (Jn 17:4,26).

In Jesus, you reveal to us in all its fullness your great “yes” to us; a “yes” that accepted suffering for our sake, to glorify you and to redeem us.

In Jesus we recognise you and He leads us to you: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father (…) No one can come to the Father except through me” (Jn 14:9,6).

THE FIRST WORD UPON AWAKENING

When I awake in the morning, You, Father, are already there, and all night You have watched over me. Then You expect me to turn to You and my first word to be consecrated to You, gladly and joyously! But sometimes I forget and let myself be carried away by moods. What a pity!

How important is this first word: the greeting to You! It places me in the truth of being, for who in the order of the redeemed Creation would not greet You?

All the angels and saints, burning in love for You, sing praises to You. The souls of the departed hope in Your mercy, to behold You soon from face to face. And the irrational creatures? They too, by their very existence, proclaim Your praise, for from You they have received life.

The book of Wisdom tells us:
“Whoever gets up early to seek her [the Wisdom], will have no trouble but will find her sitting at the door. Wisdom is brilliant, she never fades. By those who love her, she is readily seen, by those who seek her, she is readily found”. (Wis 6:14,12)

You, Father, are the source of all wisdom. To meditate on You and on Your love is the “perfection of wisdom” (Wis 6:15).

Now I have a new day ahead of me; a day created by You, also for me. Let me live it in such a way that, before nightfall, I can say: “Thank You, Father! This day was a good step to bring me closer to You on the way to eternity. Your wisdom was with me, and helped me and toiled with me (cf. Wis 9:10)”.

THE WORD “FATHER”

THE WORD “FAHTER”

“Father” – what a wonderful word Jesus gave us to make the Eternal God understandable to us.

God is not just invisible or even unreachable for us! We can trust the reports of the Holy Scriptures, which tell us about Him. God wants to be very close to us; and in many ways He wants to make us understand that He loves us and wants to live with us – His children.

This is expressed in the word “Father”, and it is able to speak to our heart in depth. In the word “Father” is expressed a whole YES to us human beings and to our existence. God never takes this back! Even if we reject His love for us, His YES remains over us. It invites us to turn back, to come home, not to close ourselves to His love for time and eternity.

Our Father has spoken this YES to us humans irrevocably in His Son Jesus. In doing so, He calls us out of our remoteness from God and leads us into His closeness.

„For this is how God loved the world: he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” (Jn 3:16), Holy Scripture testifies to us. In Jesus He gave us His heart.

The way is now open to the heart of the Father. The Son has taken away all obstacles at the cost of His own life. If we believe in Him and receive forgiveness of our sins the Father’s love can come to us without obstacles and live in the security and joy of the children of God.

What hinders us to follow this invitation? We should set out with confidence! The Father awaits us because He is our Father….