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Getting to Know
God as Father

by Christopher M. Bellitto

(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 or grandparenthood.

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 journey—your 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 advice.


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


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