Doesn’t it seem like the Father is the hardest Person of the Trinity to have a close relationship with? Jesus is our Friend and Brother. The Holy Spirit is the one we rely on for understanding and wisdom. But the Father is the scary one. He’s the one who punishes us. He expects perfection from us. And He’s too far away up there in Heaven to help us with our little daily problems. Right? Wrong! Our image of God as our Father needs healing.

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The Father shows merciful love to the Prodigal SonThe Father gives us total love and kindness and mercy. He gave us Jesus so we won’t have to face punishment for our sins. He is completely patient with us regardless of how imperfect we are. And He’s intimately and infinitely concerned about our daily trials.

So why doesn’t it feel like He’s this wonderful?

We received our first images of what God the Father is like from our human fathers, but they loved us insufficiently, no matter how good of a dad they were.  Because they (or other authority figures) punished us, we project onto God the image of a father who whips us when we fail to live up to His expectations. If the father-figures in our lives have been unhappy with us when we failed to live up to their expectations, we think God, too, is unhappy with us. If our dads died during our childhood, or left the family, or traveled a lot on business, we unconsciously assume that Father God, too, won’t be close when we need His help.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains (in paragraph 239):

By calling God “Father,” the language of faith indicates … that He is goodness and loving care for all His children…. The language of faith thus draws on the human experience of parents, who are in a way the first representatives of God for man. But this experience also tells us that human parents are fallible and can disfigure the face of fatherhood and motherhood…. He transcends human fatherhood and motherhood, although He is their origin and standard: no one is father as God is Father.

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Seeking God can take us on the railroad tracks of life

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