Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Met Silouan (Muci): This is My Father and Your Father

Arabic original here.

This is My Father and Your Father

In the Son's ascending to heaven and awaiting the descent of the Holy Spirit, there is no better opportunity to talk about the Father than the Sunday that falls between the Thursday of Ascension and Pentecost Sunday. The text of the Gospel of the Sunday of the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Synod was surprising, since in it the Son speaks about the Father, His Father. Is there anyone who can do this better than Him? Is there anyone else to tell us about the Father, to present Him to us as God and as Father, and to give us a living model of the unity that exists between Them and of the love that flows out upon us from this relationship?
In fact, Jesus started off on the basis of a definition that He alone can authoritatively express and He transmits it to us in the certainty of salvation that lies in the truth that He declares to us and through us, to the entire world: “And this is eternal life, that they may know You [i.e., the Father], the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). He brings you, in simplicity, to the bosom of the One to whom He speaks and He places you in a single rank with His first disciples, just as when we heard the Lord tell Mary Magdalene on the morning of that Paschal Day, “I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God” (John 20:17). He places us on a single course with those who expressed this experience of theirs by using the expression “the God of our fathers.”
The Lord brings you into the mystical bedchamber where He abides, and He wants us to abide there with Him, like Him, without fear or shortcoming. At that point, you discover that our faith is not based on human “creativeness”, a "religion" like the others, but rather you find yourself before the Son of God speaking to His Father, the Father, introducing you to Him, bringing you to Him, and offering Him to you. Moreover, you become a witness to the relationship that exists between Them. In this perspective, this revelation becomes the content of your faith, your possession (your own), a certainty that you bear, a faith by which you live, a faith that you express, as it is written in our Bible: the experience of “the Kingdom of Heaven” or the experience of “eternal life”. God becomes your God and the Father, your Father, such that we can turn in prayer toward the One about whom Jesus spoke as He taught us, “Our Father who art in heaven...” (Matthew 6:9).
It is only possible to live out this truth if you believe in it and if you offer yourself to Him, in freedom and humility. It doesn't matter if you are broken or you believe that you are wronged, unlucky, complicated, heavy-laden with life's burdens or immersed in sins. Keep in mind: You have one God and Father. You know Him through His Son who told us about Him, gave us Him and placed us before Him. Indeed, we can say more about this: He showed us Him, since He made us witnesses of the relationship between Them, and He did not deprive us from this “intimacy” that exists between Them becoming our irrevocable share, by grace, just as it is His own share. It is the same share for you, if you believe, if you listen, if you repent, if you come to Him.
And so we experience a great adventure, an adventure that touches the hell of estrangement (from God and from our Heavenly Father), as well as it leads you to the heights of the heaven of divine love and adoption. In this effort, your sonship to Him comes into being within you and you experience His fatherhood to you, as a good God (according to the divine and not human standards of goodness), so you receive from His Spirit in order to give Him. At that point, you can truly bear witness to God. We have in this a rule established by the Lord: “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8). 
How great is our share if we know the Father through the Son, if we keep His name, if we do His commandments, if we come to Him and help others to come to Him! How hard is it for us to do this, to remain in Him according to His Spirit, to not substitute Him for someone or something else! Jesus taught Martha through her sister Mary when He said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42). May we stand firm in Him if we are standing right, or return to Him if we are broken, so we may be together, as one, as a fulfilment of the Lord's act of praying for us: “Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are” (John 17:11).

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