Pope Benedict XVI Teaches Us about the Fatherhood of God
It is in the Lord Jesus that we fully see the benevolent face of the Father who is in heaven
God is a Father who never abandons his children, a loving Father who supports, helps, welcomes, forgives, saves, with a fidelity that immensely surpasses that of men, opening up to an eternal dimension. (Pope Benedict XVI)
CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - "For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."(Ephesians 3:14 - 19)
These words were written by the Apostle Paul to the early Christians in Ephesus. The Greek word for Father and family are connected. Paul is using them in a sort of play on words to make a profoundly important theological and existential point. Fathers are the foundation of families, they give them identity and meaning in both life and in death. The Catholic Catechism says, "The divine fatherhood is the source of human fatherhood; this is the foundation of the honor owed to parents." (CCC#2214)
Fathering is a gift and a responsibility. I cannot live it without grace and neither can anyone who participates in it in either the natural or the spiritual order. Grace is Divine Life given to us through Jesus Christ and mediated through His church, in Word and Sacrament. In the Holy Eucharist we receive Jesus, the Source and means of all grace. Jesus reveals the fullness of the father and shows us who we are becoming. "Christ, the final Adam, by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear." (GS #22)
The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that "Grace is a participation in the life of God. It introduces us into the intimacy of Trinitarian life: by Baptism the Christian participates in the grace of Christ, the Head of his Body. As an "adopted son" he can henceforth call God "Father," in union with the only Son." He receives the life of the Spirit who breathes charity into him and who forms the Church." (CCC#1997)
As we stand in Jesus, we stand in the relationship which He has with His Father. We become partakers of the Divine Nature. (2 Peter 1:4) We actually become sons (and daughters) in the Son. By receiving Jesus we receive the power to become the sons (and daughters) of God. (John 1:12) This gift of Divine filiation is the heart of the Christian message. God is our Father. His fatherly love invites us to continual transformation, as we cooperate with grace, into the Image and likeness revealed fully in the Beloved Son.
In the 20th chapter of John's Gospel records a post-Resurrection encounter between Mary Magdalene and Jesus when she finds the tomb empty. "But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him."
"Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away."
"Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rab-bo'ni!" (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, "Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." (John 20:11-18) The identification will be complete when he is seated at the Right Hand of the Father - His Father is now our Father and we are invited into the Trinitarian communion.
On Wednesday, January 30, 2013, Pope Benedict XVI, the one we call "the Holy Father" participates in the Fatherhood of God in his Petrine ministry. His teaching is truly profound and we are so fortunate. He dedicated his Wednesday Catechetical instruction to the Fatherhood of God. I am please to present portions of this beautiful talk below.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In last Wednesday's catechesis we reflected on the words of the Creed: "I believe in God." But the profession of faith specifies this affirmation: God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. Thus I would like to reflect with you now on the first, fundamental definition of God that the Creed presents us with: He is our Father.
It is not always easy today to talk about fatherhood. Especially in our Western world, the broken families, increasingly absorbing work commitments, concerns, and often the fatigue of trying to ...
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