Jesus said to his disciples:
“In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
“This is how you are to pray:
“Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.”
“If you forgive others their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”
I currently am teaching a one-week course on the Five Identities of the Diocesan Priesthood in Omaha for the Institute for Priestly Formation. There are about 170 seminarians in the program from dioceses all over the United States. The five identities that we are teaching are:
1) Beloved Son
2) Chaste Spouse
3) Spiritual Father
4) Spiritual Physician
5) Head & Shepherd
I attended this program when I was a seminarian in 2000, but each time I come back something goes deeper into my soul. The foundational identity that we must receive from the Father is that we are Beloved Sons of our loving God. Before we can take on any other identity as priests, we must know that we are loved. We must have confidence in the love of the Father for me.
The same is true for any of us. When we are baptized we become sons / daughters of the Father. This reality is even more real than when we were born to our earthly parents. Heaven is more real than earth. God is more a Father to us than even our earthly father. This does not denigrate any of our earthly relationships; it just means that heaven, God, the Sacraments are more real than our reality itself.
Having said that, do I realize that I am a beloved son / daughter of the Father? You may be thinking:
1) I don’t deserve that kind of love.
2) I am too big of a sinner to be loved by God the Father.
3) I have to earn the Father’s love.
These are all lies that the evil one wants us to believe. However, God is trying to help us realize that we are beloved because we are. We can’t earn His love. We can’t do anything to make Him love us more. He created us and loves us – period.
Our response needs to be one of receptivity, like Mary was to the angel Gabriel, “Let it be done unto me according to thy will.” This is hard to let go of control, but do I trust the Father? Do I believe that He loves me?
I can try to continue trying to live this life on my own. But at some point I have to realize that I can’t do it myself. It is like an alcoholic that admits they have a problem and they can’t solve it themselves. We too are sinners and we can’t solve this problem alone. We need a savior. We need Jesus and we need the Father.
What can we do? Nothing but turn to the Father in faith and say, “I can’t do this myself. I trust in you. I place my faith in you. I believe in you. Help me.”
Our Father loves us so much that He will run to meet you, like the Father in the Prodigal Son story. It is this Father that we pray to when we say, “Our Father…”
You are His beloved. Do you believe that? What lies are keeping you from receiving His love? The truth is you are loved, more than you possibly can imagine.
Have a blessed day,
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