Our awareness of our status as slaves would make us sink
into the ground and our earthly condition would dissolve
into dust, if the authority of our Father himself and the Spirit
of his Son had not impelled us to this cry . . . ‘Abba, Father!’
. . . When would a mortal dare call God ‘Father,’ if man’s
innermost being were not animated by power from on
This power of the Spirit who introduces us to the Lord’s
Prayer is expressed in the liturgies of East and of West by the
beautiful, characteristically Christian expression:
straightforward simplicity, filial trust, joyous assurance, humble
boldness, the certainty of being loved.
Before we make our own this first exclamation of the
Lord’s Prayer, we must humbly cleanse our hearts of certain false
images drawn “from this world.”
makes us recognize that
“no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the
Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to
reveal him,” that is, “to little children.”
hearts has to do with paternal or maternal images, stemming from
our personal and cultural history, and influencing our relationship
with God. God our Father transcends the categories of the created
world. To impose our own ideas in this area “upon him” would be
to fabricate idols to adore or pull down. To pray to the Father is to
enter into his mystery as he is and as the Son has revealed him to us.
The expression God the Father had never been revealed to
anyone. When Moses himself asked God who he was, he
heard another name. The Father’s name has been revealed
to us in the Son, for the name “Son” implies the new name
We can invoke God as “Father” because
he is revealed to us
by his Son become man and because his Spirit makes him known
to us. The personal relation of the Son to the Father is something
that man cannot conceive of nor the angelic powers even dimly see:
and yet, the Spirit of the Son grants a participation in that very
relation to us who believe that Jesus is the Christ and that we are
born of God.
28 St. Peter Chrysologus,
71, 3: PL 52, 401CD; cf.
3:6; 4:16; 10:19;
2:28; 3:21; 5:14.
3: PL 1, 1155.