A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Monday, October 24, 2005

Our name for God

The LORD. The Almighty. The Most High. The LORD of Hosts. The Creator of heaven and earth. The Infinite, Omnipotent, Omniscient, ETERNAL...


It is a disconcerting juxtaposition of names, and yet that is what is at the heart of today’s first reading (Romans 8:12-17) and the Aramaic word “Abba.”

Paul follows this word with the Greek word for Father, but it is not just a generic Aramaic word for “father” – it is the word a little child lovingly uses for “father”: just as English-speaking children may call their fathers “Daddy.”

For you did not receive
a spirit of slavery
to fall back into fear,
but you received a spirit of adoption,
through which we cry,
Abba, Father!”

It is the very same word our Lord used when praying to the Father (e.g., Mark 16:36).

Thus, when we are given the ability to call God “Daddy,” we are not only given the incredible honor of childlike closeness with God, we are also drawn in a real and mysterious way into the infinite and eternal relationship between God the Father and his only-begotten Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

It is a thrilling, mind-blowing reality – a reality that is affirmed, St. Paul says, by the highest authority:

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit
that we are children of God,
and if children, then heirs,
heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ…

It just makes you want to sing:

O what glory, far exceeding
all that eye has yet perceived...

But then St. Paul suddenly smacks us back down to earth.

...if only we suffer with him
so that we may also be glorified with him.

Oh, great, we might say, there’s a catch: we have to suffer.

But in truth, this connection between suffering and glorification only deepens and intensifies the reality of our union with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: for this is the heart of his very own saving work, the center of the paschal mystery, the way of the cross that leads to eternal life.

This is our joy: the Spirit that enables us to call God "daddy," the grace that allows us to use Christ's own special name for his Father, and the love that calls us to suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

Praised be Jesus Christ.

Glory be to the Holy Spirit.

Thanks, Daddy.