Fatherhood of Faith

Fatherhood of Faith

It is said that when God decided to invite Abraham to become our father in the faith, God did not prepare him by giving him lessons on the theological virtues. God did not send him to a seminary-type of training to instill and enhance his sense of faithfulness.  In his goodness, God made him a father in order for him to appreciate God’s reality.  In God’s own design, fatherhood is one state of life that unravels the fullness of God’s love and life.

Abraham did not achieve the fullness of fatherhood when he, through Sarah in her old age, begot a child.  Begetting a child paved the way for the fullness of his fatherhood.  The fullness of his fatherhood was reached when he decided to offer his only son Isaac in sacrifice in response to the test of faith that God was giving him. This story took place in one of the mountains in the land of Moriah. “When Abraham and Isaac came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order.  He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.  Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son.”   We know that in the end, the angel of God intervened and a ram caught in a thicket by its horns was provided as the substitute offering.

When Abraham raised the knife to kill his only son, he died to his dreams.  He died to his need to possess and enjoy his only child.  With this spirit of self-sacrifice, Abraham realized the fullness of his fatherhood and thus came to know the fullness of God’s love and life.

The voice of the Father invites us to be open to the fullness of God’s love and life as shown in the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ.  Christ’s sacrifice on the cross shows the full realization of his adherence to God’s will.  Our commitment to follow Christ is about making our life adhere to his spirit of self-sacrifice and love.  Listening to Christ is about reading the signs and signals which he makes in the various aspects of our lives.  It is feeling the presence of Christ in our life through prayer and reflection that results in doing God’s will in our life and in our world.  Christianity is about letting go and letting God.  It is about dying to self and letting God’s will be done in our respective lives.

Like Abraham who would let go of his son in sacrifice in obedience to God’s word and was rewarded with children as countless as the stars of the sky or the sands of the shore, we also have to let go of our personal concerns and dreams which stand as obstacles to following God’s will in our lives. We have to let go of our own personal preferences and options so we can fully realize God’s life and love in our lives.

The story of Abraham is about faith and trust in God.  It is about removing fear in our hearts. Abraham’s journey of faith is tested to the limit, proving his great trust that he would be willing and ready to make an unthinkable sacrifice.

In our life, we have our own fears and challenges that test the measure of our faith and trust in God.  Our faith is tested now and then.  The death of a loved one in an accident, the loss of a seemingly secure job, the senseless suffering of a member in the family through cancer or this pandemic or even the anxiety over possible terrorist attacks: these are some issues that can test the limits of our faith in God.

In our journey of faith, we have to reflect more and more on God’s presence in our life as we seek approaches or solutions to our fears and challenges.   It is time to look back at the times of our life and realize that God, after all, has always been with us.   We examine our current fears and challenges and acknowledge that God is so near to give us support and strength in our weakness and difficulty.  And looking forward to our own future, we strengthen our hope that God shall be with us until the end of time.

Let us strengthen our resolve to follow Christ more closely in our own daily experiences of suffering and dying, believing that if God is for us, who can be against us?, as St. Paul reminds the early Christians in Rome in the midst of their persecution and other tribulations.