The Charitable Man Loves God as Father
Do You Have What it Takes?
Do you have what it takes? This is one of the central questions of manhood. Perhaps your personal version of it is a bit more nuanced, “do I have what it takes to do my job/school, ask this girl out or eventually to marry me, to be a father?” But we all ask ourselves that question in some way, and often multiple times.
One of the biggest dangers is in trying to answer that question by comparing yourself to those around you. Reality check, there will always be someone better than you at any given thing. If you find your value in sports, there will be someone faster, stronger, and more talented. If you place your worth in your intellect there will be someone smarter than you. If you place your value on holiness that seems like a good thing but, guess what, there are lots of people holier than you.
So where do we look? How do we find our worth and how do we know if we have what it takes? The answer is to first look to God, our Father, and how much he loves us. Interesting tidbit, he didn’t just create you and set you out on your own, like a wind up toy that he left to fend for itself. He sustains you, your being, in every moment. We have often heard that we can’t take a breath without God giving it to us, but more than that, everything we see, or think, or do is made possible because God sustains us. We are like sailboats that only move because God blows and fills our sails with wind. Without him it is not that we can’t do anything, it’s that we wouldn’t even exist. If he were to stop sustaining us we wouldn’t just vaporize, it would be like we never existed.
God knows us inside and out, all our joys and triumphs and all our sorrows and sins, and he loves us anyway. In fact, he loves us a lot. Your parents, or spouse for the Captains, probably love you a lot, but if they knew all your sins and failures would that love be lessened? Not in God’s case, he loves us in spite of our sins and failures, which are like a slap to the face for Him. He knows all our sins, and even better than we do. Those sins offend him much more than they do our parents or our spouse.
So we need to look to God our Father to find out what our standard is. His vision for each of us is the standard we need to hold ourselves to, not what our peers do or say. He loves us and wants the best for us. He also gives us a model to follow in Jesus Christ, perfect God and perfect man. The funny thing is, God loves us so much that he doesn’t let us plateau. Imagine you have a coach who challenges you to run a mile in 7 minutes and then just stops pushing you when you achieve it. Bad coach. As soon as we reach the milestone God has for us he smiles and points to another one a bit higher. This standard of God’s is not an out. You may think, “Well, since I’m not comparing myself to others I’ll just be satisfied with where I am at.” Nope, if you are extremely talented you may even be more lax than the guy who struggles to be good at anything because things come easy to you. God is calling everyone higher, especially the talented ones.
St. Augustine on God as Father:
THE SON OF GOD, our Lord Jesus Christ, has taught us a prayer; and though He be the Lord Himself, as you have heard and repeated in the creed, the only Son of God, yet He would not be alone. He is the only Son, and yet would not be alone; He wishes to have brothers. For to whom does He say: “Our Father who art in Heaven?” Whom did He wish us to call our Father but His own Father? Did He begrudge us this? Parents sometimes, when they have had one, or two, or three children, fear to give birth to any more lest they reduce the rest to beggary. But because the inheritance which He promised us is such as many may possess and no one be impoverished, therefore has He called into His brotherhood the peoples of the nations; and the only Son has numberless brothers who say, “Our Father who art in Heaven.” So said they who have been before us; and so shall say those who will come after us. See how many brethren the only Son has in His grace, sharing His inheritance with those for whom He suffered death. We had a father and mother on earth, that we might be born to labors and to death: but we have found other parents, God our Father, and the Church our Mother, by whom we are born unto life eternal. Let us then consider, beloved, whose children we have began to be; and let us live so as becomes those who have such a Father. See how that our Creator has condescended to be our Father!
Catechism 240: Jesus revealed that God is Father in an unheard-of sense: he is Father not only in being Creator; he is eternally Father in relation to his only Son, who is eternally Son only in relation to his Father: “No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
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