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668

Part Four

We must remember . . . and know that when we call God

“our Father” we ought to behave as sons of God.

38

You cannot call the God of all kindness your Father if you

preserve a cruel and inhuman heart; for in this case you no

longer have in you the marks of the heavenly Father’s kind­

ness.

39

We must contemplate the beauty of the Father without ceas­

ing and adorn our own souls accordingly.

40

2785

Second,

a humble and trusting heart

that enables us “to turn

and become like children”:

41

for it is to “little children” that the

Father is revealed.

42

[The prayer is accomplished] by the contemplation of God

alone, and by the warmth of love, through which the soul,

molded and directed to love him, speaks very familiarly to

God as to its own Father with special devotion.

43

Our Father: at this name love is aroused in us . . . and the

confidence of obtaining what we are about to ask. . . . What

would he not give to his children who ask, since he has al­

ready granted them the gift of being his children?

44

III.

“O

ur

” F

ather

2786

“Our” Father refers to God. The adjective, as used by us,

does not express possession, but an entirely new relationship with

God.

2787

When we say “our” Father, we recognize first that all his

promises of love announced by the prophets are fulfilled in the

new

and eternal covenant

in his Christ: we have become “his” people

and he is henceforth “our” God. This new relationship is the purely

gratuitous gift of belonging to each other: we are to respond to

“grace and truth” given us in Jesus Christ with love and

faithfulness.

45

38 St. Cyprian,

De Dom. orat.

11: PL 4:526B.

39 St. John Chrysostom,

De orat Dom.

3: PG 51, 44.

40 St. Gregory of Nyssa,

De orat. Dom.

2: PG 44, 1148B.

41

Mt

18:3.

42 Cf

. Mt

11:25.

43 St. John Cassian,

Coll.

9, 18: PL 49, 788C.

44 St. Augustine,

De serm. Dom. in monte

2, 4, 16: PL 34, 1276.

45

Jn

1:17; cf.

Hos

2:21-22; 6:1-6.

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443

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