What Does the Father Desire?
Have you ever stopped to think about that?
I spend so much time telling the Father what I desire that I rarely stop to ask Him what He desires.
A friend once shared with me a humorous, yet convicting, conversation he had with his wife. She asked him, “If you could be a fish what kind of fish would you be?”
He was perplexed. “I don’t know, maybe a shark or a dolphin? What would you say?” Just like a fish, he took the bait – hook, line and sinker.
His wife smiled wryly then promptly shared: “If you were a fish, you would be a Sel-fish!” Ouch! It pierced his heart. I’ve gone swimming in those waters a time or two myself. “Selfish” is not a good type of fish to be.
Such conviction, and desire for a deeper relationship with Him, has led me to ask the Father more readily what it is He desires. I am not going to pretend to know the depth of that answer, yet Scripture and Church teachings do provide us with enough hints to enable us to piece some things together concerning the Father’s desire.
Friends of God:
Let’s start with the words of John the Beloved:
Jesus says, “I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.” John 15:15
I tend to read these words so quickly that I miss what Jesus is saying: “I have called you friends.” Jesus calls us His friends, and as His friends, He reveals to us everything the Father is doing. That is very profound. If I would only grasp this more fully…
Earlier in John’s gospel, John 5:19, Jesus says this: “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.”
Jesus can do only what He sees His Father doing… Jesus does what the Father does.
Then in John 14:12, John records these words from Jesus: “Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.”
These words shatter my limited paradigms. If we pause a second and think about it, these words alone could transform our lives: Jesus is telling us, that if we believe, we will do what He does. What are all the things that Jesus did/does? What an amazing promise.
Putting it together: Jesus ONLY does what He sees His Father do. As followers of Jesus, He calls us His friends. As His friends, He makes known EVERYTHING the Father is doing. Not only that, but He promises us that if we believe we will do the things He does! That is amazing.
After Jesus says that we can do what He does, He goes on to say this, in John 14:13-14 “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”
So, if we were to take Jesus at His word and ask Him what it is His Father is doing and what it is the Father desires, what might He share with us?
God’s desires are many I would presume, none less than His desire for a relationship with us (CCC 27). There is something profound in the area of our Father’s desires, related to the secrets of His Kingdom, that can be found within the mysterious words of the Lord’s prayer that we utter every Sunday at Mass:
Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:7-13: “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then in this way:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those, who trespass against us.
Led us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
More than a routine prayer:
I don’t know about you , but I have been praying the Lord’s Prayer ever since I was a little boy. It was a routine prayer that I uttered from memory, having no clue of the power within the words of this declaration.
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven….”
What is it that Jesus is telling us in these words?
Paul tells us in Romans 8:15 “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, “Abba! Father!”
“Abba is the Aramaic word for father.” (www.catholic.org/encyclopedia). “…used by Jesus and Paul to address God in a relation of personal intimacy.” (Dictionary.com). Jesus was telling us that his Abba is our Abba and when we talk to Him, make it personal. God is our Abba, our Father.
Our Father resides in Heaven. That seems so far away, at least that is how I viewed it. Much like my dad who left when I was five years old, God the Father felt distant, as if way far off in the clouds somewhere.
Is Heaven so far away? What did Jesus mean when he said, in Matthew 4:17. “…the kingdom of heaven is at hand”?
Hallowed by your name:
God’s name is Holy. The name signifies nature. Holy is who He is. God is all holiness. He is only good, true, loving and Holy. He has no evil in Him. He is only Good and Holy.
Your kingdom come:
This is where it gets really interesting.
“Your Kingdom comes, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven….”
What exactly is it that we have been praying for over all of these years? What was Jesus teaching us?
On Earth, as it is in Heaven:
According to these words that Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer, it seems apparent that our Father desires for His Kingdom to come and His will to be done on EARTH, as it is in HEAVEN.
It seems in our Western Christian culture, we have made it about getting to heaven as if it is our destiny to endure the sufferings of the earth until we can one day crawl into this place called heaven. While it is true that Christ is seated in Heaven at the right hand of the Father and He has made a place for us in Heaven, I don’t think it is His goal for us to endure earth until we get there.
The prayer we pray on Sunday says so much more than that:
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
What does the Church say?
These words from one of the principal documents of the Second Vatican Council are enlightening:
“The Son, therefore, came, sent by the Father. It was in Him, before the foundation of the world, that the Father chose us and predestined us to become adopted sons, for in Him it pleased the Father to re-establish all things. To carry out the will of the Father, Christ inaugurated the Kingdom of heaven on earth and revealed to us the mystery of that kingdom… “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand.” In the word, in the works, and in the presence of Christ, this kingdom was clearly open to the view of men…. From this source, the Church, equipped with the gifts of its Founder and faithfully guarding His precepts of charity, humility, and self-sacrifice, receives the mission to proclaim and to spread among all peoples the Kingdom of Christ and God and to be, on earth, the initial budding forth of that kingdom….” Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, promulgated by Pope Paul VI on 21 November 1964
Christ introduced the Kingdom of Heaven on earth and revealed to us the mystery of that Kingdom… As Christ declared, the Kingdom of God is at hand.
A Greater Goal:
If the only goal was to get to heaven, a friend once humorously shared with me, then we should have been kept under water during our baptism.
The goal and desires of the Father are much greater than just enduring the sufferings on the earth to one day get to heaven. As we hear the words of Jesus in the “Lord’s Prayer,” the desire of our Father is for Heaven to come here on earth, through you and I, His Church.
Luke 11:1-2″He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come….”
May our Lord’s desire be fulfilled on earth as it is in Heaven.
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