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the year of abba
"This will prove that you are sons of your heavenly Father." —Matthew 5:45
In this year dedicated to God the Father, in preparation for the Great Jubilee, the Church emphasizes more than ever the command: "In a word, you must be made perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Mt 5:48). Like our Father, we must show love practically even to our persecutors and enemies (Mt 5:44-45).
Lent is traditionally a time of God the Father confirming His love for us as His sons and daughters. Before Jesus was led into the desert by the Holy Spirit (Mt 4:1), He heard His Father say: "This is My beloved Son. My favor rests on Him" (Mt 3:17). In the desert, Satan tempted Jesus to doubt that He was the beloved Son of God (Mt 4:3, 6). Jesus overcame these temptations and was confirmed in His Father's love. During this Lent we, like Jesus, will be tempted to doubt the Father's love for us. But we will be given the grace to overcome these temptations and to believe more than ever in the Father's infinite love for us.
The Holy Spirit will grace us with confirmation of our Father's love through our Lenten penances. Therefore, "keep your deeds of mercy secret, and your Father Who sees in secret will repay you" (Mt 6:4). "Whenever you pray, go to your room, close your door, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, Who sees what no man sees, will repay you" (Mt 6:6). "When you fast, see to it that you groom your hair and wash your face. In that way no one can see you are fasting but your Father Who is hidden; and your Father Who sees what is hidden will repay you" (Mt 6:17-18). Live a Lent in which you trust God the Father completely and let him father you in simple, practical ways. Let the Holy Spirit cry out in your heart "Abba" ("Father") (Gal 4:6; Rm 8:15).
Prayer: Abba, give me humility and faith to be secure in Your love.
Promise: "Provided you keep all His commandments...you will be a people sacred to the Lord, your God, as He promised." —Dt 26:18,19
Praise: Following God the Father's call for his life, Thomas took a step in faith and did not renew his health insurance.
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 23, 1998
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 27, 1998