Thursday, December 19, 2013

In the Father's Hand

I need to print these words out and hang them up, like, right in front of my face; i.e. I need to remember the truth that is expressed here, again and again and again.

      "Become like a child
      and lay your life
      with all the searching and ruminating
      into the Father's hand."

Still, even this beautiful advice (that St. Teresa Benedicta [Edith Stein] wrote to a friend) can become abstract. "Lay my life into the Father's hand"... what does that actually mean? How exactly am I supposed to do this?

Something struck me today that helped me get past all of that, and remember how very simple it really is.

A child in a father's hand... I remember what it was like to hold a very, very little child in my own hands.

I've held five little children in my hands, and I cherished each one of them. I even made up little songs for each of them, and I remember looking at their little eyes and singing their songs to them.

The youngest of my children was particularly small, helpless, and vulnerable. How did I carry her in my hands? What did I expect her to do for me in order to "earn" my love? How ridiculous! I know that the father who held that tiny, imperiled child couldn't even imagine such a question.

My gosh, I just wanted her to live! I wanted to love her, all the more because her life was so fragile. My child! I am bending over, in the picture above -- bending down to put my face next to hers. She is helpless, and so I do everything I can to draw close to her. My desire is to pour out everything I have so that she will live and grow and become herself.

Of course, I am a selfish man, and I rarely live up to this desire in the daily circumstances of raising my own children. But I try. I know something of what a father's love is meant to be.

I try to give what is good to my children.

"How much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:11)

Stop being afraid. Stop trying to comprehend it. Stop trying to justify yourself. You know that a father's strength is in his tenderness, and all his ardor is for your healing.
"Become like a child and lay your life with all the searching and ruminating into the Father's hand."