God’s Style in Three Words
As we continue our pilgrimage into Lent, our Christian Spring and growing time, what would you say characterises God’s style? Pope Francis in his reflections on Wednesday 3rd March while teaching about prayer, identified three words that indicate God’s style:
Closeness, Compassion and Tenderness.
A style that we couldn’t possibly know if it weren’t for the revelation of Jesus. For it is Jesus who reveals God’s heart. Jesus tells us through His life the extent to which God would be a Father to us all. No one is Father like He is. The parental care that is Closeness, Compassion and Tenderness, these are His ways. Only because of Jesus, the Holy Father, tells us can we imagine a God who loves us like this. Remembering God’s words to His people repeated in Deuteronomy: “For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord God is to us?” This closeness of God is the revelation! In Jesus we see the only God who loves humanity with Closeness, Compassion and Tenderness.
We would never have had the courage to believe in Him, had we not had Jesus. For it’s Jesus who tells us of the merciful father with the prodigal son and the shepherd who seeks for the lost, of the healer who reaches out and touches the ‘unclean’, of the compassionate who feeds the hungry crowd, raises the dead and what kind of God is prepared to die for people, even those who betray and desert Him? Which one? The one revealed by Jesus!
Last Wednesday the Holy Father explained that this Jesus, our Jesus, opens us to prayer, “to the immense sea of God who is love, close compassionate and tender.” Without Him we really did not know how to pray, what words, what feelings and what language were appropriate for God. And we pray in our unworthiness as St Francis of Assisi put it, “No man is worthy of naming you.” And don’t we ourselves repeat at Mass, acknowledging our own poverty of faith and prayer, the Roman Centurion’s sentiments when we pray: ‘Lord, I am not worth that you should enter under my roof; but only say the word, and my soul will be healed.’ (Mt8:8) Yet He longs to hear from us, from you and me, because He loves us.
In these special days of Lent when we try to be with God just a little more, at home, at Mass, at Adoration, Confession and the Station of the Cross, etc., we have to acknowledge we are not worthy of it, we have no rights to claim, we ‘limp’ with every word at times and every thought…But Jesus is the door that opens us to this conversation, this special time, with the God who He shows us is: Close, Compassionate and Tender to everyone who call upon Him. May we not disappoint such great love in our busyness. Make time!
Fr David Jones OLW