When I went on a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land I had a interesting experience that came right back to mind today when I was reading some words from Pope Francis’ audience on April 10, he said:
“It is the Holy Spirit that we received in baptism that teaches us, leads us to say to God, “Father.” Or rather, Abba Father.”
Why the “rather”?
One day during our pilgrimage, when we were in Galilee, we started the day walking down to the shores of the sea and doing our meditation gazing at the very Lake that Jesus walked on and Peter Fished on. Some people had picturesque spots from which to ponder, but I was somewhere more like this:
A more crowded piece of beach front and not totally silent, which at first was really bothering me. Between scolding myself for getting distracted when I “should have” been in profound prayer, (after all, this was the Holy Land I was in!), I noticed that there was a Jewish man a few yards down the dock with his two young boys. The dad was fishing, and the young boys were “fishing,” the younger one with a toy fishing rod, that had a short line, which had apparently gotten tangled. My ears jumped with I heard this young boy (maybe 3 or 4) call out, exasperatedly, to his dad: “Abba! לתקן את החכה שלי”
(I am guessing a little bit on the Hebrew part, but I am pretty sure it was along the lines of “fix my fishing pole!”)
That experience of the young Jewish boy calling out to his dad has stayed with me in a powerful way. That’s what God wants to be for us. I suppose it depends a lot on each persons life experience, but to me the word “father” brings to mind a more formal relationship. I never called out “father!” when I was about to fall out of the tree I was climbing, or when I was after I hammered my thumb when I was helping with one of my dads many projects. Thats when “daddy!!” escaped my lips, just like when I was a small child, and that’s what I think God wants us to know. He wants to help us with the daunting, God-worthy needs, but also with the silly tangles of our life that we just cant, or don’t want to, handle all by ourselves.
Pope Francis goes on to say:
This is our God, He is a father to us. The Holy Spirit produces in us this new status as children of God, and this is the greatest gift we receive from the Paschal Mystery of Jesus. And God treats us as His children, He understands us, forgives us, embraces us, loves us even when we make mistakes .
Just like a good daddy would.
Now that my husband and I are experiencing parenthood from the other side of the relationship, we are both learning a lot. The day our small daughter first made the sounds “da-da” were probably the happiest of my husbands life. Whether she knows what she is saying or not, her calling out “daaa-daa!” has him running from across the room, but lately its just been because shes lonely in the fort he made for her.
and he’s all to happy to rescue her from her little fort, as he would be to bail her out of more serious situations.
So let’s try to call out to our daddy in heaven with the same trusting faith of a little child who knows no matter how silly the situation might seem, God is all to happy to reach down and help us!