Today I am drinking iced soda pop from a large cup my own father used to drink from every weekend. Dad died in 2006, eleven years ago. It was a very difficult time for me. I suppose losing a father is difficult for any man. But I once heard that you are not a man until your own father passes on, and you are finally on your own.
My grandfather, on the other hand, is still alive. Last weekend, we've been celebrating his 93rd birthday. He is a World War II hero who still drives to the nearby store, does woodwork, keeps up his yard, and is always asking me to fix his cable reception. Although age has made him shorter, I would be grateful to live as long and healthy a life as he has.
In just an hour from now, my own children will be waking up to prepare for Mass, and my daughter will be receiving her first communion. After that, the rest of the day will be just me and the kids hanging out together, probably playing some old Nintendo games, since it's raining pretty hard down here in Tulsa.
Perhaps today when you go to Mass, you will have heard various parishioners wish their priest a Happy Father's Day. Because, of course, the priest is our spiritual father. I also wonder if we had a king, would we not be wishing a Happy Father's Day to him, since a king is a father to his nation.
|Our Father in Heaven|
But another Father I often think about is God, Himself. It's easy these days for people to conceptualize Jesus Christ. He was a real, tangible, physical man on Earth. We even have his likeness preserved on the Shroud of Turin. So familiar are we of God the Son, that modernists often like to portray him as a "buddy Christ" dressed in blue jeans. (Familiarity breeds contempt, I suppose.)
God the Father, on the other hand, is a nebulous and abstract concept for a lot of people. For many, this person of the Trinity is a sort of philosophical exercise, more than a being with intentions and feelings.
So, the question arises: How does God see us all as children? This is asked in a guest post on my friend's website over at Stares At the World:
How is it that He is able to look at us with the affection of a father? How can we—disgusting creatures filled with sin that we are—resemble anything like children to the Creator? There are Islamic murderers, catty in-your-face sodomites, grotesquely obese gluttons, drugged out meth addicts. How can such creatures be looked at affectionately at all?
This has perplexed me for a while. God still loves us, even if we are type of Judas Iscariot, Nero, or an Adolph Hitler. How? How can it be? How is it that the Almighty can love a foul-smelling creep with a bad attitude who refuses to bathe, brush his teeth, or cut his hair?
The author goes on to relate to the perspective of God the Father through the lens of an emergency room worker. I suppose this article will be a hit with a lot of other people reading this who are involved in the medical field.
It could be easy, as a medical worker, to go through the motions with this person, working as though they’re dealing with a carcass rather than a human being. It would be easy for a medical worker to have a casual conversation about their dating life or what they’ll do at the lake, all the while the infirmed patient lies there silently, unable to speak. Perhaps this geriatric’s glazed eyes stare motionless to the ceiling, and it is assumed by many in the room that the person is an object to talk over. The elderly patient “isn’t all there.”
I look at this cadaverous mummy, and I imagine a black and white picture of a happy toddler on his tricycle. I look at them, and I realize this piece of human jerky was once a round-faced, bouncing, adorable smiling four-year old who ran to into his father’s arms and lifted him into the air. This skeletal horror was once an innocent, laughing, smiling six-year old who got his first puppy one day, his face covered over with happy puppy kisses one bright afternoon.
The brutal depiction of infirmed people on their last leg in a hospital is not the usual kind of imagery I am used to reading about. But the question posed in this article is suitable for today's celebration: "Isn't this a face that only a father could love?"
It seems the article has been making the rounds online. I think I saw a link to it up on Canon212 just last week. I would like to encourage you all to check out Aurini's blog for this and many other articles that he features. Follow the link below for the full post:
"How God Looks At Us Like Children" can be found here: