Do You Know Your Heavenly Father?

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Matthew 6:7-15

If you grew up in a home where your dad was absent, aloof, or abusive, it’s hard to see God as a loving parent.

I have a close friend who spent years in therapy trying to un-do the damage that her alcoholic father had inflicted. During one session, her counselor said: “Josie, you know Jesus, but do you know your heavenly father?”

My friend suddenly realized that the resentment she harbored toward her dad was impacting her relationship with the Lord. After many weeks, she was able to forgive her dad and her therapist suggested meditating on the prayer that Jesus gave to his disciples.

Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…

For me, the prayer calls to mind a hallowed king, gloriously crowned. I love this image because it reminds me of the Rite of Baptism and the words that affirm our royal identity in Christ. At the Font, when water is poured over a baby, the priest proclaims to the assembly; “Dearly beloved, this child has been reborn in baptism. He (she) is now called the child of God, for so indeed he (she) is.”

To be a child of God means that we are loved by our hallowed king. Our Lord is never absent or aloof from our lives. On the contrary, his kingdom “has come” alive in our hearts and lives within each of us. We are always wearing the crown of his presence and each day, our hallowed Father provides what we need; daily bread, forgiveness, and deliverance from evil.

Our Father….

What do these words mean to you? Over these Lenten weeks try meditating on the prayer Jesus gave to us. As you do, allow the Lord to show you who he is.

Nancy Jo Sullivan is a Catholic author and speaker who resides in Minneapolis. Her books and articles have been published by Random House-Multnomah, Loyola, Reader's Digest, Guideposts, Catholic Digest, and The Huffington Post. Her newest Book,  Couriers of Grace-My Daughter, The Sacraments and a Surprising Walk of Faith, was just released by Ave Maria Press. To order, visit Ave Marie Press or Amazon. Contact: www.NancyJoSullivan.com.