All Day (Tuesday)
Meditations for Lent By: Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet Courtesy of Sophia Institute Press Week 1: Tuesday Our Father From the very first word of the Lord’s Prayer, our hearts melt with love. God wants to be our
Meditations for Lent
By: Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
Courtesy of Sophia Institute Press
Week 1: Tuesday
From the very first word of the Lord’s Prayer, our hearts melt with love. God wants to be our father by adopting us, one by one. He has an only-begotten Son in whom he delights. Sinners he adopts. Men adopt children when they have none of their own. God, having such a Son, has nevertheless adopted us. Adoption is a work of love, because we choose the one whom we adopt. Nature gives other children; love alone makes adoptive ones. God, who loves his only-begotten Son with all his love, even unto infinity, extends the love he has for his Son to us. That is what Jesus said in the admirable prayer that he made to his Father for us: “that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:26). Let us then love such a Father. Let us say a thousand times: Our Father, our Father, our Father, will I not love you always? Will we not always be true children enfolded in your paternal tenderness?
What is it that makes us say Our Father? Let us learn from St. Paul: “because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ ” (Gal. 4:6). It is the Holy Spirit in us. It is the Spirit who forms in us our heart’s invocation of God as a Father always ready to hear us. The same St. Paul says elsewhere: “All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God,” and that God sends us “the spirit of sonship” by which we cry “Abba! Father!” (Rom. 8:14-15). Once again, it is the Holy Spirit who gives us this filial cry.
Why should it be called a cry? We cry when in great need. A child cries only when it suffers or when it has a need. To whom does the child cry in his need if not to his father, his mother, his nursemaid, to all those in whose nature he senses something paternal?
Let us cry then, for our needs are extreme. We are falling, seduced by sin, carried away by the pleasures of the senses. Let us cry — we cannot do more — but let us cry to our Father. The Holy Spirit, the God who is Love, the love of the Father and of the Son, the one by whom “God’s love has been poured into our hearts,” will lead us (Rom. 5:5). Let us cry ardently, and let all our bones cry out: O God, you are our Father!
“It is the Spirit,” St. Paul adds, “bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom. 8:16). O God, who is it that hears this testimony of the Holy Spirit, who tells us interiorly that we are children of God? When we enjoy the peace of a good conscience and of a heart that has nothing for which to reproach itself that would separate it from God, there is a voice that says secretly to us in the intimate silence of our heart: God is your Father, and you are his son!
Alas, this voice is too intimate, and too few people hear it. Let it speak again, and we will understand it better. We must be made stronger and better rooted in the good. The Holy Spirit does not give everyone this secret testimony. As to him, he wishes to give it to all, but all are not worthy. O God, make us worthy of it! This is a good thing to ask of God, for in truth it is he who gives it. And he responds: Act with me, work by my side, open your heart to me, let every created thing be silent, and say to me often in secret: Our Father, our Father.