Musing on God the Father

Author’s Note: This is the first of a three-part series of musings on Each Person of the Holy Trinity. This musing is on God The Father. Read the musings on The Son and The Holy Spirit.

Musing on God The Father

Much can be said and written on Each Person of the Trinity, but ultimately it is a Mystery. All that we know of the Holy Trinity is what has been revealed to us by God, and what we can deduct from those revelations.

But, let us begin with God The Father.

Again, God is Infinite, and thus, if we completely understood Him (which we don’t), could be infinitely described, written about, etc. So, how and where can we even begin to muse, to ponder, to wonder about God The Father?

How about with His Name? The Father.

Jesus reveals His Relationship with His Father: “The Father and I are one,” and other similar passages found in the Scriptures. And, we as Christians accept that God The Father is Jesus’ (the Second Person of the Holy Trinity) Father, and ours also – just as we address Him in the “Our Father” prayer.

We attribute the title “Creator” to Him (as we do similarly with Jesus’ “Redeemer/Savior” and the Holy Spirit’s “Sanctifier”). We understand that He possesses, and is the source of, all the quintessential attributes of a father: loving, protective, caring, authoritative, and so on.

However – without forgetting the magnificence and importance of these above attributes – let us ponder on another attribute of God The Father: knowledge.

“God is a spirit, and the first act of a Spirit is to know and understand. God, knowing Himself from all eternity, brings forth the knowledge of Himself, His own image. This was not a mere thought, as our knowledge of ourselves would be, but a Living Person, of the same substance and one with the Father. This is God the Son. Thus the Father “begets” the Son, the Divine Word, the Wisdom of the Father.” — A Manual of Religion

Thus, we understand – through revelation and deduction – that God The Father’s Eternal Knowledge of Himself begets His Son, the Second Person of the Trinity.

Yet, why do we still call Him Father? Why do we not call Him “God The Knower,” or “God The Almighty” or some other such title?

Why is He The Father?

Because (I would contend) a principle function of a parent is to impart knowledge to his/her child. (This is not so much the case with Jesus, God The Son, as being Fully God, He is Omniscient.)

Think about what an earthly father does, ideally. (Mothers do these things too.)

Among many things, he teaches his children – how to walk, how to throw a ball, how to drive, how to stay away from dangerous things like hot stoves, strangers, and drugs.

But, even more importantly, he teaches his children about themselves.

For instance, my dad has shared stories about things I did as a baby or a toddler that I wouldn’t remember – how I was a fussy baby, but I was calmed by the sound of running water; how I would cry and plead to get a new pet each time we went to the pet store; how I had no scruples about sharing my very frank comments with my family members.

My father helps me know myself.

He is always ready to give me words of criticism or encouragement as the situation provides – “You’re being really negative today” or “You’re really smart, so you should try the advanced class.”

He helps me to see what I cannot see or do not wish to.

And because of that constant flow of (self) knowledge, I look to him for advice, for counsel, for guidance.

We do the same with Our Heavenly Father. For who knows us better than The One Who Created Us and Loves Us Best?

However, like our earthly parents, we can also rebel from Our Heavenly Father – “Oh, you don’t know me. You don’t know what I’m capable of. You don’t know what’s best for me.” But, while earthly parents can sometimes be wrong (but not very often, hopefully), Our Heavenly Father never is.

Another thing that our fathers (again, mothers too) also do is connect us to the past. They tell us stories about our grandparents, great-grandparents; how our family came from this place and settled in that place; and so on.

Happily, more often than not, we devour this (self) knowledge, because our culture has encouraged us to believe that our past will influence our future, for better or worse. Most times, we desire this knowledge, because we want to know where we (inasmuch as our family) came from.

We want to know who we are, and our parents help us in that task.

By learning about who we have been and who are families are, we want to figure out what we are ‘destined’ for – what the outcome of our lives will be.

But, we are created by God The Father out of Love. We are created to love and be loved by Him and our brothers and sisters. We have no need to search for our ‘destiny’ anywhere else, but with Him:

God is both our origin and, we pray, our outcome.

Yet, to be with Him, we must first know Him; then, love Him; and serve Him.

So, like an earthly parent, God The Father tries to impart all this (self) knowledge onto us, but it is up to us to decide what to do with it. Like our parents, He assists, protects, and guides us on our path, but we make our own choices. He just wants us to make the right ones, so that we can be with Him one day in Heaven.

Meditation for Ash Wednesday

Author’s Note: This meditation is based on Psalm 51 and Hosea 1 & 2. In the Book of Hosea, God asks the prophet Hosea to take a prostitute as his wife, and Hosea does so. This corresponds to God’s relationship with the Israelites, his chosen people, who had fallen away from their faith and worshiped false idols. Hosea remains faithful to his wife, despite her unfaithfulness to him, just as God remains faithful to Israel, despite their idolatry. This meditation is told from the wife’s point-of-view.

Meditation for Ash Wednesday

“Into the Desert”

I am a wife – a tainted, unfaithful wife. I was a harlot – selfish and unsure.

Then, I met a Man. And, He married me; even though He knew who I was – who I am still. Though, I try not to be.

I try to pursue my old lovers, but I cannot overtake them. I try to seek them, but I cannot find them.

I know my ways are shameful, and my soul, unclean.

I want to be purified, to be forgiven – to be loved. To be a wife – true, faithful, and pure; to be a mother – attentive, loving, unselfish.

So, He takes me; allures me; leads me … into the desert … into the wilderness. To be cleansed with water; to be purified by fire; to be made holy through His Spirit.

He and I are bound together, connected. A string – solid and bright – connects His Heart to mine, and mine to His. It is a strong cord, but I can break it. When I do, He bleeds inwardly. I bleed also, but He heals me and restores the cord once more.

desert-footprints

As He leads me over the dunes, into the crusty, dirty stretch of silence, I know I could break away from Him. I could snap the cord once more and flee. What if I do not want to follow Him into this desert, this wilderness… this silence?

But I do. Because He loves me, and we are connected. I am drawn to follow Him – out of love. An imperfect love. A flimsy, fleeting love. It is not strong and steady like His Love. But it is there, and it strengthens, slowly and surely with each passing moment.

He draws me into the silence of the wilderness… to speak to my heart.

To blot out my transgression with His Compassion and cleanse me from my sin.

To clean me that I may be pure; to wash me, that I may be whiter than snow.

To create a clean heart for me and renew within me a steadfast spirit.

To restore me to the gladness of His Salvation and uphold me with His Spirit.

To open my lips, that my mouth may proclaim His praise.

To accept the sacrifice of my contrite Spirit.

So, I follow Him into the desert… To be cleansed and purified. And, to grow closer to Him. To become one with Him.

May these days in the desert help me to become one with Him. Amen +CHS

Musing on Movements of the Spirit

A Musing on ‘Movements’ of the Spirit

A few years ago, my friend and I decided to get some ice cream after a workout. We did this occasionally, and when we did my friend usually insisted on paying. We made our order at the drive-thru and pulled up to the window to pay. I gave my friend a few dollars to hand to the cashier. I said that I could pay for the ice cream this time.

My friend was embarrassed. “I saw some $1s on my dresser before I left. I should’ve brought them with me,” he said. “The Spirit told me to, but I didn’t listen.”

I raised an eyebrow, but didn’t say anything.

“Yeah, because the Spirit–the HOLY Spirit–told you to take that money so you could buy ice cream,” I thought. It’s not that I thought he was lying, or that the Holy Spirit doesn’t move people…

I just figured the Holy Spirit wouldn’t bother with something as trivial as some cash to buy ice cream with later.

But, as I write this, years later, that memory has stuck with me. That recollection of me and my friend in the drive-thru, and the “movement” of the Spirit that he had ignored.

Perhaps my friend was wrong when he said he felt the Spirit ‘moving’ him to take that cash. Maybe the Spirit doesn’t bother with something that trivial. Maybe he was experiencing something more earthly than heavenly.

But, there are times, in my life (and in your life, too, I assume) where there were little “hints”… little “nudges”… that said to do something out of the ordinary… to change the routine… because it will be for the better.

Like a woman who feels, for some reason, that she should take a different way home that day, and finds out later there was a traffic accident along her usual route. If she hadn’t changed her routine, she would’ve been stuck in traffic.

Or the man who decided to call in sick to work one September morning, and, later, watched in horror as a plane crashed into the North Tower floor where he worked.

Maybe it’s luck or happen-chance. Maybe it’s a strange human instinct or “sixth sense.” But, we as Catholics believe that there is a Holy Spirit – a being that inspires and moves us to do God’s Will in our lives.

If we don’t listen to those movements, it’s only that much harder to accomplish God’s Will. The Spirit has to “re-route,” as it were, and find another opportunity to move us.

Now, why do I mention my friend and the ice cream?

I can’t speak as to the specific circumstances of “why God would want my friend to take the cash,” but I can say this:

If we listen to God in the little things, it is easier to listen to him in the big things.