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  • Writer's pictureDr. Anthony Lilles

The Gravity of the Father's Love in Heaven and on Earth

The Lord taught us to call on our heavenly Father not because God is distant or inaccessible, but because the Father is awaiting for us with love. This means that heaven is near and dawning on us even now. This means that we are the objects of a particular joy, a special and un-repeatable delight that has lived in the Heart of God from the beginning. He respects our freedom but no power from above or below can thwart the hidden purpose of His exceeding love. He is making His will on Earth as it is in Heaven. The Lord's prayer reveals that the Father Himself is not passive or absent, that heaven itself is not indifferent to our struggles here below. Similarly, the Lord's prayer has nothing to do with spiritualizing away the painful ambiguity of life. Even when overwhelmed with crushing hardships and painful sorrows, even when our dreams are dashed to pieces and we feel left in total darkness, it is not escapism to remember that our present problems do not have an ultimate claim on us. Instead, we see our hardships in a broader context, a difficult but brief moment in a beautiful story that is raising us on high. What most defines our existence is the specific gravity of the Father's love. To turn to this love is to choose to confront what is most essential in reality, what is most painful in our existence. Here we know the mystery of the Cross. All longing and disappointment, all guilt and injury, and death itself fall in prostrate silence before this threshold of Heaven. Following in the footsteps of our Crucified Master into this great mystery, we discover the dynamism of the Father's love as an unvanquished force even when disguised by the obscurity of great suffering. His heart is pierced by our plight. He watches for us eagerly even when we are still a long way off. He is ready to rush to us as soon as He sees us turning home. He cries out with His Eternal Word and by His Holy Spirit implicates Himself in our lives to welcome us home. His Love aims for nothing less. This new presence of the Father working through the Word and Spirit cried with love into our hearts makes our spirits increasingly more heavenly. This beautiful presence is is in the form of a celebration, filled with the joy of banquet, a feast too wonderful for this world to contain. If the Father cries out to us in love and truth, how can we do anything other than cry out to Him in faith and confidence? We must never be afraid to allow Him to welcome us home. Faith and confidence are the most beautiful way of welcoming God and showing hospitality to the one who rushes to us. The more we makes space and welcome this heavenly reality, the more powerfully this divine indwelling moves us to cry out with trust "on earth as it is in heaven."

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