God as Father in the Scriptures -assignment for Spiritual Direction

grace of GodMy question for you to ponder then would be:  What is your image of God?  Where does it come from? I would like you to do a search of all the images of God as Father in the Scriptures from the Revelation that Christ brought to us to see what it says.
 
Now, with the Scriptures that you found near you, ask yourself if your image of God is in line with those passages. Think about this in relation to what you said, “Parents have expectations of who and what their children can be. They are disappointed when the child doesn’t meet the expectations.”  Do you feel that God has expectations of you and is disappointed because you have not met them?  Is this in keeping with His unconditional love, with the Scripture passages that you found?
 
If you find that they are different, ask God in your prayer to reveal Himself to you as He is and to heal any “false images” you may have about Him.

This was an assignment that my spiritual director gave to me for my next spiritual direction meeting – to find all the images of God the Father from the Revelation that Christ gave to us. I did find one – by accident as I wasn’t looking – in an Old Testament passage, although it doesn’t show God as Father but as merciful. The others I find, I will add to here.

Isaiah 56:6-7 ” The foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, ministering to him, loving the name of the Lord and becoming his servants – all who keep the Sabbath free from profanation and hold to my covenant, them I will bring to my holy mountain and make joyful in my house of prayer —- That is an image of a God who welcomes all – but there are conditions to the welcome – keep holy His Name, keep the Sabbath, obey the covenant.

Divine Intimacy by Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene – “We know, in fact, that the divine Paraclete, with the Father and the Son, dwells in every soul that is in the state of grace, and not only does He dwell there, but He delights to abide there. The Higher the degree of grace He finds in the soul, the greater is His delight, for wherever grace is more abundant, there is more intense and luminous reflection of God’s nature and goodness.”

Matthew 16:17 “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah!. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven”. This shows me that God the Father is intimately involved in our lives. He reveals to us truths about Himself, even though we may not know at the moment where the thought came from. It comes from our Heavenly Father.

the TransfigurationMatthew 17:5 “While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” This takes place on the Mount of the Transfiguration when Peter suggests that he build tents for Jesus, Elijah and Moses. God the Father announces that Jesus is His messenger; that He speaks the truth; that we should listen to what Jesus says and more than just listen, we should act on His words.

Isaiah 42:16 “I will lead the blind on their journey; by paths unknown I will guide them. I will turn darkness into light before them, and make crooked ways straight. These things I do for them, and I will not forsake them.” I am one who is blind. I am one whom God guides. This passage shows me the love of God for me, that though I am blind and sometimes take the wrong path, still He leads me away from what will hurt me.

Zephaniah 3:17:  “The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing as on a day of festival.” The little book, “Jesus Calling”, brought this verse to my attention. in the passage the author spoke for God when she said “there is no place so desolate that you cannot find me there…No set of circumstances could ever isolate you from My loving Presence. Not only do I see you always; I see you as a redeemed saint, gloriously radiant in My righteousness.” The word exult in the last part of the passage the author replaces with “delight.”

So as this month has progressed, I have been searching for these passages, mulling over the statement by the director that “God delights in me.” While I have to agree that God is “unconditional love”, hasn’t He also had plans for me, knowing how he created me, knowing what I am capable of? If that is so, wouldn’t God be disappointed if I fail in that task? Or is it that God sees my end and knows for sure if I come up to His expectations, while all along He is leading me on this path that will take me to His final goal for me? Perhaps there would only be disappointment if I, at the end, choose something other than Him, that He would be saddened and disappointed by my choice? I have prayed for the grace of perseverance, that at the end I will fall willingly and happily into His arms.

The end – my death – is so much of a mystery. What lies beyond? Is it eternal happiness or only darkness? By holding out for eternal happiness, by believing that there is something beyond this life, that my family and friends wait for me, is a way of trusting God, I think. Trusting that what Jesus promised is real. Sometimes I am so in awe of this God of ours, that He could love us so much that He would put up with all of our anger, our words, our walking away from Him. I suppose like telling a parent “I hate you” when they refuse to let you do what you want, but you know that parent will love you anyway, will welcome you back into their arms. That it is safe to say those ugly words, because you don’t really mean them.

When I look back on my life and remember the people and events that form my memory, I recognize how precious it was, how lucky I was to have the life I have had! What entitled me to such a wonderful, love filled family? Why don’t others have what I have? I have been so fortunate in my life – that I was loved by those whom I admire and cherish.

Life of the Beloved” by Henri J.M. Nouwen –

  • “From all eternity, long before you were born and became a part of history, you existed in God’s heart. Long before your parents admired you or your friends acknowledged your gifts, or your teachers, colleagues, and employers encouraged you, you were already “chosen”. The eyes of love had seen you as precious, as of infinite beauty,  as of eternal value. When love chooses, it chooses with a perfect sensitivity for the unique beauty of the chosen one….
  • Long before anyone heard us cry or laugh, we are heard by our God who is all ears for us. Long before any person spoke to us in this world, we are spoken to by the voice of eternal love…
  • The truth…is that I am the chosen child of God, precious in God’s eyes, called the Beloved from all eternity, and held safe in an everlasting embrace…
  • This truth is not simply an inner truth that emerges from our center. It is also a truth that is revealed to us by the One who has chosen us….
  • Gratitude is the most fruitful way of deepening your consciousness that you are not an “accident” but a divine choice…
  • When we keep claiming the light, we will find ourselves becoming more and more radiant….
  • Every time we decide to be grateful it will be easier to see new things to be grateful for…
  • Instead of making us feel that we are better, more precious or valuable than others, our awareness of being chosen opens our eyes to the chosen-ness of others.”
  • “Deep friendship is a calling forth of each other’s chosen-ness and a mutual affirmation of being precious in God’s eyes.
  • Your life and my life are, each of them, one of a kind. No one has lived your life or my life before, and no one will ever live them again.
  • Our lives are unique stones in the mosaic of human existence – priceless and irreplaceable.
  • Being chosen is the basis for being the Beloved.”

More from Henri Nouwen: Definition of blessing – “speaking well or saying good things of someone. To give someone a blessing is the most significant affirmation we can offer. …to give a blessing is to affirm, to say “yes” to a person’s Belovedness. To give a blessing creates the reality of which it speaks. A blessing touches the original goodness of the other and calls forth his or her Belovedness.”

St. Augustine “God loves each one of us as if there were only one of us to love.” Beautiful!

From the book “Jesus Calling” on September 7, 2014: “Enjoy the warmth of My Presence shining upon you. Feel your face tingle as you bask in My Love-Light. I delight in you more than you can imagine. I approve of you continuously, for I see you cloaked in My Light, arrayed in My Righteousness.”