Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Greetings fellow Network of Love Lovers!
Wishing you serenity this Wednesday. It's sunny here in Chicago and even if it isn't sunny where you are, may you find a little sunshine somewhere today. The picture in my post today is of my nephew A.J. and my brother Bill–––father holding son in his arms.
"Abba"–––the name that Jesus used when he referred to God. Abba was the ancient word that Jesus used and taught us to use when addressing God. Reading my Action Prayer Book this morning, I learned that the literal translation of Abba is "Daddy." Here is Jesuit priest Mark Link's take on the use of Abba. "In other words, Jesus taught us to address God the same way he himself did: with the loving trust of a small child calling out to a loving parent."
I think of nights falling asleep to the singing of my Dad, who was "Daddy" then, singing a lullaby called "Daisy." He would sing to me in this quiet, rough around the edges but smooth and soft voice and I would drift to sleep. I hardly remember these moments, but I know from stories and from the faintest of memory that they were real. And I know they put me to sleep to rest in peace until the time I awoke.
Another Jesuit priest, Mark E. Thibodeaux, in his book Armchair Mystic: Easing into Contemplative Prayer, writes that the way we approach God in prayer is like a small child in the arms of his or her guardian:
"I must always remember that I can no more approach God than an infant can approach its mother. When that baby sees its mother several feet away, he tries to reach her by stretching out his tiny arms toward her. But it is Mom who goes the distance and makes the connection. In the same way, my human capacity to reach across the great divide between the finite and the infinite is eternally inadequate. But from God's perspective, the gap doesn't exist at all. Like a loving mother, our Mother-God is ever present."
My dad, singing me to sleep, was a nurturer who was present at the time when I was trying to relax and drift into slumber. To think of God and ourselves in this kind of way, as caretaker and small child, allows us to be okay with whatever comes out of our prayer. It is okay to be a child in prayer, to call God "Daddy" or "Mommy." In fact, Jesus himself used the term Abba. He was a child, loving God the father in the only way he knew how. And in this sense, in this kind of relationship, Jesus became Son of God. His example of how to pray and live is so simple that it makes us question our own simplicity. Do we see God as ever present, ready to take care of us at all costs, anytime we call on Abba?
We might not always understand God or prayer or get it right, if you will. But the key is that we try our best to foster an intimate, loving hopeful relationship with Daddy.
Thibodeaux continues: "to reach for God IS to reach God....I should trust that God is present to me ANYTIME I stretch out my feeble little spiritual arms."
peace and blessings and have a wonderful day!
your friend bob : )