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666

Part Four

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

high?”

28

2778

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:

parrhesia,

straightforward simplicity, filial trust, joyous assurance, humble

boldness, the certainty of being loved.

29

II.

“F

ather

!”

2779

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.”

Humility

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.”

30

The

purification

of our

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

“Father.”

31

2780

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.

32

28 St. Peter Chrysologus,

Sermo

71, 3: PL 52, 401CD; cf.

Gal

4:6.

29 Cf.

Eph

3:12;

Heb

3:6; 4:16; 10:19;

1 Jn

2:28; 3:21; 5:14.

30

Mt

11:25-27.

31 Tertullian,

De orat.

3: PL 1, 1155.

32 Cf.

Jn

1:1;

1 Jn

5:1.

270

2828

239

240