“A father loves you enough not to let you remain a child. Any parent will love you enough to make sure you become all that you are meant to be– not remain the same. In the same way, the Lord, as our Father, chastises us. He does not want us to remain in sin, but His endless mercy means that we always have a chance to return home and repent.”
This was my takeaway from Father Marc Cramer’s homily back in June. I never really understood God as my personal Father growing up. I was raised by a single mother, so having a constant father figure as a part of a family unit was sometimes lost on me.
God is a compassionate Father. Sometimes it’s hard to see that at first, like most of us do with our own dads. We see someone who works long and hard, is unrelenting, and carries high expectations. The last thing you want to do is disappoint him. There is a different kind of “fear” that I felt in front of my dad that I didn’t feel with my mom. I always feared 1) not following his orders correctly and 2) doing something that would harm my relationship with him.
We all yearn to be noticed and loved by our fathers, especially as daughters. With our God, I think it’s easy to feel like every little thing that we do puts our relationship with Him in jeopardy. That every mistake we make severs a strand of the imaginary rope of love that connects us to Him. As sisters we are already highly critical of everything that we do. We must be the perfectly prayerful and faithful sisters that we are called to be. Otherwise, we are undeserving of God’s love. The thing is, God wants our hearts just as much as we want His.
As a single person, this strikes me especially strong. I’m still navigating the waters of the future that He has planned for me, whether that is in marriage or in the religious order. In praying for a partner, the model I should be looking to is Him. My friends and colleagues often mention how the kind of husband they want is really someone who is like their fathers. It all makes sense! This is not to say that every father is perfectly graceful and perfectly loving, but there is something in our hearts that wants a man who will love and protect our (possible) future daughters with that same steadfast and tireless disposition we see in many of the men in our lives.
I remember that I would see a sliver of vulnerability in my dad whenever we were getting ready for school. He would fumble trying to put a barrette in my hair. He would put it on backwards and then give up and tell me to fix it. And he had a clumsy, awkward roughness when it came to these feminine things. I appreciated that he always tried, anyway. These are the moments of my dad that I cherish, when he was soft and inviting.
With that, I encourage us to speak to God as a daughter every once in a while. Ask Him to hold you when you are broken, to challenge you to do your very best, and to lead you in making wise decisions. Most of all, allow Him to embrace you when you are repenting. Allow him to love you so that you can change and be the person you are meant to be. This is is a father that is relentless in His mercy for us.
What is something that you learned from your dad or any father figures growing up?