I, know this will come as a great shock to many of you, I got into some trouble when I was a kid. Maybe, I got into A LOT of trouble when was a kid? Maybe, I STILL get into trouble, after all, a leopard does not change it's spots, right? Well, one day, of many, I got into trouble. This was relayed to my Dad by the family historian, my mother. Well I received my punishment and was not in a very happy mood. A few hours later I met Dad, and he reminded me that Castletownroche was playing in the Cahirmee Tournament that evening. Did I have to be reminded that the Pope, was Catholic? What he said next has stayed with me over the all years, he told me that he and I were going to the match. Was I surprised? No….I was shocked! My Dad had that great father energy, he challenged me on my mistakes, but, he was gentle, when it mattered.
God...Father... Abba... Daddy..are are all very simple words we use to describe the Incomprehensible, the Ineffable, the Infinite. William Wadsworth wrote "Father to God Himself we cannot give a holier name”. It was that familiar, and intimate word ,"ABBA, that Jesus The Christ choose to describe Him with whom He had such a strengthening, and nourishing relationship. It was this Abba with whom He chose to spend countless days and hours with. It was to purify the knowledge, and relationship that He spent 40 days in a desert experience. It was with this Abba He spent many nights away from those He ministered to, and those whom He was in the process of forming. It was to quiet places He went, when He had to face great decisions. It was in the silence of mountains He lost Himself, so as to find the wisdom, strength, and spiritual nourishment which would give direction to His journey within the human condition. We read how as He returned from this alone time with, The Alone, there was a greater sense of conviction and urgency. There was a deeper commitment to His mission and ministry. He had to allow Himself, as we do, to be gently guided into and ever deepening understanding of what it meant to be The Beloved Son, of Him, whom He had the courage to call, Abba. We have to remember that in the historical time in which Jesus lived, His fellow Jews would not so much as mouth the word God. Now here we have this radical who wants to call the God whose name we cannot speak, His Abba. No wonder they wanted to kill Him.
I have often reflected on the relationship between Jesus and Joseph. What was the dynamic that enabled, that allowed Jesus to make the connection between His understanding of His God and that of the human person He called, father. What did He experience with Joseph that moved Him to realize, this is what I have with my God. What was the feeling when He first spoke openly of what was HIS DEEP AND INTIMATE feelings. He from the way He spoke forever changed the dynamic between His Abba, and us, His fellow human beings? On one side. we have the infinite, on the other side we have the finite, and the word to be the bridge to the gap is, Daddy. In that simple, little word, the divine is perfectly hidden and revealed.
What a great challenge lies on the shoulders of those who wear the mantle of, Dad. Any one of the male gender can become a father, many times this is unfortunately true, but it takes a special person to become a Dad. A Dad, is a sacrament. Yes, each and every Dad is an ever new revelation of our heavenly Abba. What we have in our relationship with our Dads, is what we are going to have with our Infinite Heavenly father. Daddyhood, fatherhood, always human. always frail, is the instrument our God has chosen, and continues to choose, to reveal to you and I, the mystery of who we are in His love. As we are growing in the experience of being the beloved of our dads ,so we can come to believe we are also the beloved of our Heavenly father.
Where such a relationship is not our experience, we must allow ourselves to grieve for what is not there, for what is missing. Then, when we have done the feeling process, (feel experience, express, and only then, let go) we ask our God to fill up the emptiness. This has to be repeated, again and again. NOTHING is done in the spiritual life, once and forever. This is a lesson we must learn. Some of us have to learn the hard way, of continuous pain and turmoil. When we are faithful to the process, then blessing do appear. The choice is ours.
The following is a country song, that can comfort and console.