GOD THE FATHER
(For Private Use Only.)
(By Bede and Miriam Ackermann)
The humanity of the third millennium is facing problems which can be resolved only by global cooperation. Many people look forward to the future with anxiety and sorrow. To become aware that we are one great family of men is more urgent than ever before.
Isn’t it time to discover the real base of human brotherhood, that is to say, the universal paternity of God? It is an immense task in which Christians have a primordial role to play. It is we who have to begin to better live our real identity, Christian and human: that is to be children of the same Father through Christ in the Spirit.
Devotion to the Father was the devotion of Jesus. The whole person of Jesus is polarized by the Father. His mission is to reveal to us the Father, to manifest His infinite love, to open the way and lead us to Him. Yet the manner in which Jesus spoke to his Father was revolutionary: "Abba," or "Dad," as a little child calls his father.
The first Christians exclaimed "Abba, dear Father!" in the enthusiasm of the Holy Spirit, expressing their new life as children of God. Presently are we really with Jesus on the way to the Father? Or have we become "fatherless" after the criticism of the father figure by psychoanalysts and feminists? Not at all, provided that we are conscious first that God the Father is not a man but God; and second that we mean what Jesus meant by "Father", namely God as the Origin of Total, Infinite and Unconditional Goodness. Then we can call God "Father", or even like Jesus, "Abba" or " Dad" in childlike simplicity.
May these prayers help us to enter the stream of filial love of Christ and so serve the grandiose design of the Father: reunite all human beings into one family in Christ "for the praise of his glory". (Eph 1,12)
First Day You are Only Love See what love the Father has given us… [1 Jn. 3:1] Father, how wonderful! With you all is so simple. Before you, I can be like a child. I can ask you for everything, and you give me all I need. I can tell you without fear, whatever l like. You listen to me. I am important to you. You understand me. You never grow tired of me. You never turn away from me. At all times you are entirely present to me. You don't regard my fortune, my knowledge, my performance. You accept me as I am. You don’t look at my faults. You don’t condemn me. You pardon me everything, and you don’t bear me any grudge. You take me as I am now, not as I have been, and you permit me always to begin again. From you I have nothing to fear. You are the Father of all of us. Whoever wants can come to you, no one is excluded. You love everyone with the same love, even more than that: you love everyone as your own Son. Father, how unheard of, how unbelievable all this sounds! However it is true. Jesus has testified that you really are so: Love, infinite Love. Our Father... Second Day The Greatest Gift If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! [Lk. 11:13] Father, all good gifts come from you. The greater and more precious the gift is, the more gladly you want to give it to us. Therefore, dear Father, I want to ask you today for the greatest and best of all gifts: For love, for the Holy Spirit. Father, I need the Holy Spirit. I want to live, to enjoy life without having to fear death. I would like to keep my spirit young and flexible. I want to become generous, compassionate and ready to help. I wish to become free from all that burdens me, what is inhibiting me or making a slave out of me. I want to defeat my indifference, my laziness, my anxiety, my discouragement and my sadness I need strength for suffering, for pardoning, for rising again. I would like to become a new creature and contribute that the world becomes a little more human. It’s You, who have put these desires in our heart. It is your joy to fulfil them in giving us the Holy Spirit. Send out your Spirit who makes us your children, who hallows your name by crying in us “Abba, dear Father!” Grant me that I don’t cease to pray again and again: Come, Holy Spirit! Our Father... Third Day Your Heart’s Desire He destined us in Love to be his sons through Jesus Christ [Eph. 1:5] Dear Father, from eternity you have thought of us. Your loving heart concealed a wonderful plan: You wanted to raise children, loving them in your Son and as your Son. With a holy enthusiasm you have created the universe with this aim. You will one great family in which all would be united in the love of Christ as brothers and sisters. This community of love is your Church. All in it is founded on love. That’s why all in it shall be accomplished by love, in love and for love. What a dream! A community which knows only love and is open to all men. Father, this dream shall become reality! I will begin just where I am: Let me consider my neighbor as this whom Jesus wants to love through me. Make me patient, comprehensive, large-hearted, considering others better than myself, everywhere emphasizing what is good, abstaining from loveless criticism of others. May I keep only those thoughts in my mind which serve love and unity, and endeavour to make peace. Father, let the Church more and more resemble the Trinitarian Communion of Love! Our Father... Fourth Day Only Love Matters If I have not love, I am nothing. [Cor. 13:2] Father, your will is love, for you are love, unconditional, unlimited love – and only love. Father, all love comes from you. Fill my heart and hand with love, goodness and mercy, and let these overflow upon everyone of my fellow-men. You want that I love you in my fellow-creatures. I am not closer to you than I am to my neighbor, even to my greatest enemy. Let me be so cheerful and kind that all I meet feel your presence and your love. Help me to love everyone as I wish to be loved. Give me the power to repay evil with good. Allow me to love myself too, with all my deficiencies, weakness and limits, as you love me. Let me consider everything as an occasion to love and answer everything with love: what is obscure and incomprehensible, with faith and confidence; sickness and need, with help and consolation; hatred and spite, with goodness and forgiveness; injustice and oppression, with courageous involvement for justice and freedom. Only love matters. I am born to love. Love is my vocation. So I ask you only for this: for love, for still more love. Our Father... Fifth Day You Take Care of Us Your Father knows what you need [Mt. 6:8] Father, I don’t know what life will bring me yet. The future is hidden to us. Will I always have a job? How will my health be? What will the future of the Church be? Where is the world going? You don’t want us to be troubled, for you take care of us. You are our Father and we are your children. A child cannot earn his living. It cannot maintain itself. It depends on others. Father, could I exist without you? What is my own that I haven’t received from you? Finally I owe all to you, my kindly Father. Only you know the future. You know everything, you have power over all and you love me. That’s why with you I can feel myself totally safe. Father, I abandon all to you. As you ordain it, that is best for me. I believe in your love. I believe that you always assist your Church with your Spirit and that you guide us by our shepherds in good pasture. You love our earth. That’s why I believe that you will also grant it a future. Father, I trust you entirely. I am still wanting only one thing: to answer your love with gratitude and to please you with my confidence and simplicity. All for your greater joy! Our Father... Sixth Day Forgive Me Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. [Lk. 23:34] Father, I have failed against love. I was self-righteous, lacking in generosity, and ungrateful. For you, our offenses are not an affront to your honor. What hurts you is, that by our sin, we act against our own well-being. You are not concerned about your honor which was violated but only about the happiness of your children. Father, I am so sorry that I didn’t listen to the appeal of your love. I am aware that I cannot claim your pardon if I myself do not pardon others. But my negative feelings still remain. However, you do not look on what we are feeling but only on what we are willing to do. Father, I am resolved to forgive everyone who trespassed against me, and I will pray for them. Pardon me too all my trespasses. I regret them from the bottom of my heart. I can be sure that you pardon me, for seeing your child return to you is your greatest joy. Father, preserve me from judging others, being irreconcilable and resentful. Let me always remember that Jesus pardoned even those who crucified him. Father, I thank you for your love, and I praise your infinite mercy. Our Father... Seventh Day In spite of suffering I believe in your love This slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. [2 Cor. 4:17] Father, when it becomes gloomy in my soul, don’t let me think that you are no longer with me. If I am afflicted by sickness or harm, don’t let me think that you want to punish me for something. If I have fallen into sin and guilt, don’t let me believe that you are angry with me and that you won’t love me any longer. If I feel useless and weak, don’t let me think that I don’t count for you any more. Aren’t you then especially near to me since you are love? Can I do anything greater than to accept suffering and to say: Father, I love you? The greatest performance is suffering and the greatest action is love. What could Jesus still do on the cross? Nothing else than suffer and love. It was not you who wanted his suffering, for you are love. But you have turned all into the best: into life and salvation for the whole world, into victory over sin and death, into glory without end for all those who have opened their hearts to love. Father, I believe in your almighty power and infinite love. You have done what is best for your children. All is an occasion for love. You are able to turn the greatest evil into greatest good. Into your hands I put everything that I have and that I am. Not my will shall be done but yours, always and everywhere. Father, I love you! Our Father... Eighth Day Home to you Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me... [Ps. 23 (22), 4] Father, time is passing away. I am growing older and older. My forces decrease. I am going towards my death. Shall I be sad about it? No, every moment that passes draws me nearer to you. Though my outer nature is wasting away, my inner nature is being renewed every day by your love. Your love doesn’t fade away but is eternal youth, beauty, power and freshness. That’s why I can continue my way with joy and confidence. I can be certain of your love and have nothing to fear, neither have I to fear even you. Your justice is not in opposition to your goodness. It is not revenging, repaying justice like ours but one which makes all just. It doesn’t put to death but brings to life. Your justice is your holiness - and holiness is love. In your eyes sin is sickness. So you are not like a judge in front of the accused, but like a mother or father at the bed of a child who is sick. Father, help me cling to nothing but you, that I take nothing for important except love. Let me become more and more simple, devote, grateful, joyful until the summit of my life where I can give myself entirely to you and enter into your house forever. Our Father... Ninth Day Heavenly Joy Give thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. [Col. 1:12] Heavenly Father, how few there are who look forward to heaven! Heaven seems not to interest people…or, on the contrary, are they interested in anything else than in heaven? The whole world is looking for joy, happiness and bliss. Father, you have created us for joy because you are love. Love wants to give joy. What can a father wish more than to see cheerful children? In our joys your Heart is uncovering itself. The enjoyment of the goods of our earth allows us to experience who you are: goodness, unlimited goodness. Heaven has already begun! All the joys you give us are messengers of heaven. All your commands are signposts to heaven. Already we can spread around us a little heaven through our love and goodness. Already we can cordially rejoice with you, with each other and all your creatures, and sing the praise of your glory. How beautiful it will be once we are in heaven! You will wipe away every tear. No guilt, no suffering, no death will be any more. Forever only one thing will fill our heart and make us perfectly happy: Love. Praise to you, Father so good, who has made us your children! Praise to your Son, joy of the world, in whom you reveal to us your true face! Praise to the Spirit, jubilation of love, in whom we cry: Abba, dear Father!