“God is our Father because He is our Creator. Each one of us, each man and each woman, is a miracle of God, desired by Him and known personally by Him. … For Him we are not anonymous and impersonal, we have a name. The Holy Spirit, which speaks within us and says ‘Abba! Father!’, leads us to this truth, communicating it to the most intimate depths of our being and filling our prayer with serenity and joy”. These words were pronounced by the Holy Father to more than 20,000 faithful filling St. Peter’s Square for his weekly general audience on May 23.
The Holy Father focused his catechesis on two passages from the Letters of St. Paul, wherein the Apostle speaks of the power of the Holy Spirit which enables us to call God “Abba”, our Father. The Pope explained that “that great master of prayer which is the Holy Spirit teaches us to address God with the affectionate terms of children, calling Him ‘Abba, Father’. This is what Jesus did, even at the most dramatic moment of His earthly life. He never lost faith in the Father and always invoked Him with the intimacy of a beloved Son”.
The Holy Spirit, gift of the risen Christ, “places us in a filial relationship with God, a relationship of profound trust, like that of children; a filial relationship analogous to that of Jesus though different in origin and importance. Jesus is the eternal Son of God Who became flesh, while we become God’s children in time through faith in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation”.
The Holy Father went on: “Perhaps mankind today does not perceive the beauty, greatness and profound consultation contained in the word ‘Father’ with which we can address God in prayer, because often the paternal figure is not sufficiently present or positive in daily life”. Yet, the Pope explained, “the love of Jesus, the only-begotten Son Who even gave Himself on the cross, reveals the true nature of the Father: He is Love”.
In his Letter to the Galatians, St. Paul tells us that the the Spirit cries out within us saying ‘Abba! Father!’, while in his Letter to the Romans he writes that we ourselves make this cry in the Spirit. The Apostle, Benedict XVI explained, “wants us to understand that Christian prayer is never unidirectional, from us to God. … Rather, it is an expression of a reciprocal relationship in which it is always God Who acts first. It is the Spirit which cries within us, and we too can cry out because the impulse comes from the Holy Spirit. … This presence opens our prayers and our lives to the horizons of the Trinity and the Church”.
“When we address the Father in our hearts, in silence and meditation, we are never alone. … We are within the great prayer of the Church, we are part of a great symphony which the Christian community in all places and times raises to God. … Prayer guided by the Spirit causes us to cry out ‘Abba! Father!’ with Christ and in Christ. It makes us part of the great mosaic of the family of God, in which everyone has an important place and role, profoundly united to all things”.
The Pope concluded his catechesis by exhorting the faithful: “When we pray, let us learn to appreciate the beauty of being friends, or rather children, of God, invoking Him with the confidence and trust of a child addressing his parents who love him. Let us open our prayers to the action of the Holy Spirit, that it may cry out within us: ‘Abba! Father!'”.