LOVE LEADS TO GRATITUDE
The God of the Old Testament is presented as God –friend, God – husband or God – Father. I invite you today to read Ch. 11 of Hosea and there we contemplate the tenderness of God who, on thinking of his people–son, ‘my heart is troubled within me and I am moved with compassion’. You can also read in Deuteronomy 32: 5-6 where it says, ‘He is your father, your creator who formed you. Yet he has been treated perversely by his degenerate children’. Those who see in Yahveh only a fearful and angry God miss a lot.
Jesus stressed still more this paternal aspect of God; he almost always refers to him as ‘Father’ and he calls on him with the diminutive Abba, which rather means ‘daddy’ with a special nuance of tenderness. The followers of Jesus join in this filiation and that is why Jesus taught them to pray to God calling him ‘Father’ (we remember the ‘Our Father’). This quickly came into normal church use: the Galatians, despite speaking a Celtic language and the Romans who spoke Latin or Greek called on God with the word Abba (cf. Gal 4:6, Rom. 8:15)
Claret soon identified himself with this filial spirituality. Speaking of his praying as a child he writes: ‘I would speak to God, my good Father’. (Aut. 40) At that young age he began to feel a vocation to be an apostle to work for the salvation of his brothers and to avoid sin, which is ‘an infinite offense against my God, against my good Father.’ (Aut 16)
Filial spirituality is related to love whose consequence is obedience. Jesus said, ‘My food is to do the will of the one who sent me; (Jn. 4:34). Claret wants to imitate him in this availability and prays: ‘My Lord and Father, I want nothing more than to know your holy will, so that I may do it; nothing more than to love you with all my heart and serve you with all fidelity’. (Aut. 136)
How is your relationship with God, the Father? Does it arouse in you feelings of love? Do you burn with desire to please him, so that everything you do is done according to his will?