Each issue carries an
Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
Getting to Know
God as Father
(A summary of this month's Youth Update)
What is the picture in your mind of
God as Father? How can you grasp the immensity of God's Fatherhood
in ways that help you grow closer to him? These are the questions
that this Youth Update helps you to explore.
1. Look for models of fatherhood. As a
teenager, you're trying to be independent from your own father.
I felt that my dad still thought I was a child and that made me
mad. You may wish to look for images outside your house, such as
your grandfather, coach, teacher or the father or grandfather of
a friend or neighbor. Whatever idea or image you have of God, he
is much greater than your human picture of fatherhood or motherhood
2. Who is the Father? God the Father is
the first person in the Trinity. He has always existed. The work
of creation is thought of as the Father's work. He is the father
of Jesus and he is your father as well.
3. Look to the Bible for images of God
as father. The biblical story of Adam and Eve illustrates God's
authority and God's desire to remain connected to you. The New Testament
story of Jesus being found in the Temple teaching when he was nearly
a teenager demonstrated Jesus' desire to "be in my Father's house."
Jesus was obviously following an inspiration. You may wish to consider
where you can connect with God the Father. You need to be open to
inspiration from God yourself.
As an adult, Jesus said, "So be perfect,
just as your heavenly Father is perfect." This may sound impossible,
but in Luke's Gospel, the word is translated as "mercy." You may
find this difficult, to be merciful to people who show no mercy
to you, but it sounds more attainable than perfection! Yet it is
the same. That is the Father's view of perfection: mercy.
Abba is a word without an English
synonym, at least not an exact one. Our best explanation is to say
that it means your very own father who loves you. Everyone
needs an abba-father, don't you think? God the Father was
Abba to Jesus. He called the Father Abba when he was
fearful the night before he was crucified. When you are in turmoil,
God is there for you as Abba.
The last biblical story to consider is
the parable of the Prodigal Son. That son had a very loving father,
who forgave him for leaving home, leaving him and making some immature
and crazy choices. God the Father allows you to make choices that
are sometimes immature and crazy as well. That's called free will.
If you don't make the best choices, he doesn't cross you off his
list, but keeps his eyes open for your return.
4. Three Things to Remember About God Your
Father. First, God the Father in the Old Testament is also the Abba
of the New Testament. You may have heard that he is stern in the
Old Testament and loving in the New, but that's just a rumor. Stern
can be just another word for love sometimes.
Second, it's up to you to grow close.
God the Father has never moved away. Any distance you experience
is because you have backed away.
Third, you are on a journey. You will
grow closer to God the Father. Begin today to keep that happy ending
in mind. God the Father is with you on the journey yet he is also
the end of your journeyyour final destination.
James A. Fisher II (16), K.C.
Gumbel (16), Mika J. Hopper (15), Kate Huffman (16), Sean Milne
(17) and Bonnie L. Russell (17) reviewed this Youth Update
in the midst of being counselors in training at CYO Camp Rancho
Framasa in Nashville, Indiana. They are from parishes in Danville,
Greenwood, Indianapolis, Pittsboro and Terre Haute, all in the Indianapolis
Archdiocese. If you would like to preview a future edition in Youth
Update's private online chat room, contact CarolAnn@franciscanmedia.org
You mention that your parents still saw
you as a child when you were a teenager. That still happens.
Don't you think if their faith in God the Father was stronger,
they would have more confidence in us? God the Father is taking
care of us, isn't he?
God the Father always cares for you, but
he also gave you parents who act in his name. Your life is
in your parents' hands at the same time that God holds you,
body and soul, in the palm of his hand. It's not that your
parents don't have confidence in you. It's just that they
know they have an awesome responsibility to protect you. It's
hard to be a teenager who's emerging from childhood into adulthood,
but it's also hard to be a teenager's parent. Try praying
to God the Father to inspire both you and your parents to
do your best.
When the teen Jesus followed his heart,
he landed in the Temple. It appears that it got him in some
trouble. Sometimes I feel that God the Father (speaking in
my heart) is telling me to do something that might get me
in trouble at home. How do I figure out what to do?
If you feel that your actions will put you
in danger or cause real tension at home, please stop and think
before you act. Run your idea past a teacher or a coach or
maybe an older friend. Even adults with lots of experience
listening to God in their own hearts sometimes think they
hear something that's not there or need some feedback to make
God's plan clearer. God would not put trouble into your heart.
If he's offering a challenge, it's always good to get some
God the Father sounds pretty complicated.
Do I have to understand how all this works in order to be
a good person?
No way. You don't need to understand love
to feel it. But the more you pray to God the Father and try
to learn about his love, the more you can work with God to
find out his plan for you. Talking about God the Father may
sound complicated, but his love is pure and simple