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How’s your image of God?

Today’s liturgy reminds us of our close relationship with God. The disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray, how they can talk to God.

Jesus advises them to call God, Father, which must have been a big surprise to them all. They must have asked, “Can we really address God in such intimate and loving terms?”

This prompts us to examine our own images of God. We can ask ourselves whether our image of God is one of a loving Father who cares for us, provides for us and protects us or not.

Men, who are fathers, ask yourself if you see yourself in this role. It also becomes apparent that for someone who did not have a loving father themselves, or even worse, an abusive father, it is extremely difficult to image God as a loving father and pray the way Jesus asks to.

Jesus asks us to call God, Our Father, then to hold his name holy. That is to be in a loving relationship with God and to honour his name first and not our own—not easy to do for someone seeking fame and fortune.

Jesus also tells the disciples what things they should ask their loving father God for. He says to ask for food and forgiveness, and also to pray that we will not be tempted.

Another extremely difficult thing to do is to distinguish between what we need and what we want, but one need we do have is to understand the difference.

This is an extremely important matter, as it goes beyond our own particular circumstance and life and affects the life of the whole planet.

If our planet is to have a sustainable future, we absolutely must live for our needs and not our desires.

But the gospel also gives us lots more hints on how to live a good, Christian life. It asks if we would willingly harm anyone, if we
would  fail in our duty to be hospitable.

If we, who sometimes find it hard to love, always do the best for our children, then how much more will God, our Father, who loves us perfectly, provide for us? It is a matter of trust and placing our welfare in the hands of someone else, even God’s can be a daunting thought.

The lives of the saints are important to us, as they are prime examples of people who achieved this level of trust and did put their lives at the mercy of the providence of God.

This week we celebrate the feast of St. Ignatius Loyola. He was the founder of the Jesuits, a former glory-seeking soldier, who surrendered his life and welfare entirely to God.

And on top of this, we have to trust each other. We have the example of the people who worked at spreading the gospel with St. Paul. They were of a genuinely apostolic spirit and supplied the needs of their brothers and sisters as a source of consolation, no less to the pastors than to the rest of the faithful.

We are called to trust and be trustworthy.

        

 

           l Diocese of Sandhurst