“Jesus is the Way when there is no way.” That’s what a co-worker told me years ago when I came to work discouraged about some situation that seemed insurmountable to me at the time. This good Baptist lady went on to add, “His Daddy is our Daddy too, ya know.” As she walked past me and on to the next patient’s room on the hospital corridor, I stopped in the middle of my morning med pass and thought, “She’s right!” It was just as if I had heard that good news about who my real Father is for the very first time and it felt like a huge burden had been lifted off my shoulders.
Since then I’ve learned that some religions consider it blasphemous to call God “Father.” I guess that might make sense if we don’t acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God. Who on earth could really believe in or make up such an amazing intimacy between creatures who are totally dependent for their being and their Creator? Who would have such audacity?
As we said in an earlier post, St. Therese of Lisieux told us that, “Mary is more Mother than Queen.” She could have easily added that, “God is more Father than Creator and King.” What she did say once that, “To call God my Father and to myself his child, that is heaven to me.” This is the essence of Therese’s theology distilled into the simplicity of a saint.
The mission given by the Father to the Son was precisely to restore his erring children to their heavenly Father by the forgiveness of sins through the work of the Cross, so that the word “Father” might become a reality to them once again. Our part, our response, is to become childlike. Therese like to emphasize that Jesus told us, “Unless you become as little children, you shall not enter the Kingdom of heaven.” Emphasis on the ‘little.’ As any parent knows, children strive continually toward more and more independence and quickly achieve it. That’s probably why Jesus, who always chooses His words carefully, said ‘little’ children.
Therese was at pains to make sure that the novices she was responsible for understood that they (and we) must live in reality. Reality means that persons have no existence outside of God; we are all newborn babies. Rather than rebel against that reality, as we learn to live in it and receive the love that our Father lavishes on us, we become ready to live in the Kingdom of heaven forever. If we reject that option, which we are all free to do, we cannot live in heaven because then it would be just like life on earth!