I’ll never forget the first time I held my son. After a long and difficult labor, his heart rate dropped and we nearly lost him. A traumatic birth twisted his head and neck, causing him great pain. After a round of tests and being tightly swaddled, his face was beet red from screaming. He looked terrified and helpless. The instant I cradled him in my arms, my heart swelled. I felt like the Grinch listening to Christmas carols coming from Whoville (whose heart grows three sizes); I thought my heart was going to explode out of my chest, erupting in sheer delight for this precious child. I didn’t know I was capable of feeling so much love. In that moment, I had an epiphany: This is exactly what God feels for each and every person: unconditional love, infinite joy, endless pride.
Jesus has this tenderness and affirmation in mind when he teaches us how to pray the “Our Father.” The word he uses for “Father,” Abba, implies intimacy and affection—it could be translated as Daddy—communicating not only God’s closeness, but God’s attentiveness: “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Mt 6:8).
If God already knows what we need, then why should we pray? In today’s Gospel, Jesus invites us to put ourselves in touch with God who ceaselessly delights in us and whose will is realized through us. We pray to participate in the personal and social transformation ignited by this truth.
Take a moment to bask in God’s abundant, steadfast love for you.
Feel God’s infinite, irrepressible delight for each and every person.
- How can you help other people experience God’s abundant, steadfast love?
- How can you use this day to labor for a world that more fully honors the dignity and rights of all God’s children?
Marcus Mescher is associate professor of Christian ethics at Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH. He is a four-time Jesuit school graduate (Marquette University High School, Marquette University, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, and Boston College). His book, The Ethics of Encounter, exploring how to build the “culture of encounter” championed by Pope Francis in an American context, was published by Orbis Books in 2020.