A Father’s Love

By Sister Diane Heiss, SDSH 

At times when observing the face of a father initially embracing his first-born child, it is possible to notice an expression of awe and wonderment as he looks at this precious and unique individual. Perhaps he is imagining what the baby will grow up to be, or maybe trying to decide which parent or other family member s/he resembles.  Above all, his heart is filled with the tender and protective love of a parent who will do everything possible to safeguard this child, even to giving his life, if the need arises. The passing years are measured not so much by the calendar but by the enchantment of the baby’s first words, first teeth, first steps, first day in preschool, and the countless other “firsts” that come along. By the time the child reaches adolescence, perhaps some of the charm is wearing thin, especially if s/he goes through the rebellious teen years, but even then, the father’s love does not dissipate.

Today, as we celebrate Father’s Day, I invite you to consider the Father par excellence – God our heavenly Father. Saint Paul refers to the Father when writing to the Ephesians “. . . I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named . . .” (Eph. 3:14) The importance of a father or father figure in all aspects of a child’s development cannot be overstressed. Those who have been blessed by a good relationship with a loving father generally have an easier time believing in and experiencing the love of God our Father, while those who have not, may struggle more to differentiate between their own fathers who have failed them, and God our Father who is infinitely good and loving.  However, God will not abandon any of his children, even those abandoned by their own fathers, and is always ready to help us enter a relationship with him when we desire and are open to it. In the Hebrew Scriptures / Old Testament, we are told:  “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion . . .” (Ps. 103:13)  Pray:  “Dear God my Father, please help me believe in and experience your loving presence and fatherly care for me, and help me know that I am your beloved child.”

When Jesus taught us the Our Father prayer (Mt. 6:9–13) the Aramaic word he used for Father was “Abba,” a word denoting an intimate, loving, and personal relationship. “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are.” (1 Jn. 3:1) This is the relationship he is inviting each of us to enter, and we can learn from the example of Jesus, our older brother, how to live as loving children of God our Father.

To all our earthly fathers, “Happy Father’s Day,” and let’s remember to wish our “Abba” – our heavenly Father – a very Happy Father’s Day as well.

For Your Family:

  • Do something special for your father, grandfather or someone who has been like a father to you.
  • Write a letter to your father or someone who has been a father figure for you, telling him how he has touched
    your life.
  • Share stories about your father and grandfather, and / or photos.
  • Using your device’s search bar, find Scripture references to God our Father.
    Here are a few to help you start:
    “Yet, Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay and you our potter:  we are all the work of your hand.”  (Isaiah 64:7)“For you are our Father, . . . you, O Lord, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name.”  (Isaiah 63:16)“. . . one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”  (Ephesians 4:6)

Published in Orange County Catholic paper 6/15/2024 – Click for original article