Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Father's Love

As I prayed in the Adoration chapel, I was contemplating my relationship with the Father. I was present before the Son, asking Him to show me how to be simple and small before His Father. I wanted to capture some example of the Father's love for me; some concrete experience or circumstance that would represent in a realistic way how He loves me.

I thought to myself for a moment, "That's an awful lot to ask. Am I asking for a sign?"

I concluded quickly, that it wasn't a sign I was looking for, but a way to describe the how the Father loves me. I was not questioning whether He loves, but looking for the "how" of it.

I rose from my knees and sat back in my chair to read. I have been reading Pope Benedict's book, The Apostles. Imagine my surprise as I began to read:

The first concerns the very Source of love which the Apostle identifies as God, arriving at the affirmation that "God is love." John is the only New Testament author who gives us definitions of God. He says, for example that "God is spirit" or that "God is light." Here he proclaims with radiant insight that "God is love."

...At this point, however, it is indispensable to take another step to explain that God has concretely demonstrated his love by entering human history through the Person of Jesus Christ, incarnate, dead and risen for us. (emphasis added)
I smiled and thought, "Well, of course!"

But, then something happened.

I looked up from my book as one little boy entered the chapel. A man was at the kneeler before the monstrance praying the Rosary. The boy approached the man, gave him a hug and the man, obviously the father, proceeded to move over on the kneeler to make room for his boy.

A few moments later, another little boy entered the chapel. Again, he went directly to the man, at which point I witnessed the concrete example of the Father's love for us in the actions of this humble father. He gave the kneeler to his boys and knelt on the floor. It doesn't seem like much, but what I saw was a sacrificial love -- an offering of ones own comfort for another.

Just as God the Father had offered His Son to humanity to reconcile mankind to Himself, this father had sacrificed out of love his own comfort, his own time in prayer, for the love of his children. His sacrifice was an act of love, in itself a prayer.

That is how the Father loves me, how the Father loves us. He gives, and gives and gives, often without any recognition or thanks for the tremendous gifts bestowed upon us. Sometimes there is a response of gratefulness; sometimes one of malice, so venomous and hateful to the One who loves us so much from His very essence.

The Father loves us because He is love. Pope Benedict so aptly states:
...he [the apostle John] does not rise from love to God, but turns directly to God to define his nature with the infinite dimension of love...
It is hard to fathom how there could be any indifference on our parts toward God the Father Whose very nature is the love. How can one ignore or forget to be grateful for God's love? And, how could the response to this love be denial or malice toward God?

I, of course, am grateful for the very definitive way God answered my prayer in Adoration. In turn, I will take that example of love and witness to it in my own life by making those humble sacrifices for God's children, especially those who do not believe, that they may come to know the Father's love more profoundly in their lives.

Thank you, Father, for loving me this way!


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