Resting in Father: towards a Father centered spirituality
Jesus’ primary spirituality was about His Father! That was the core of His Life, and message. We are followers of, and participants in, His spirituality; so our own spiritual growth in Him, must also eventually become Father-centric!
One of the biggest problems i see in Christianity spirituality today, is a lack of deep residing in, and knowing of the Father. Many are willing to serve with Jesus, but not reside in His Father. There is a core issue of “doing for” God, rather than being “in Him”.
The early desert fathers tried to reveal and emphasize, that being in His Nature should be our central aim, even above doing “for” Him. And the nature of Jesus leads us directly into His Father! We serve the poor in order to meet Him. We cannot really even help the needy if we are not “in Him”. And, we cannot perform our way into heaven, as one monk put it.
A Father centered spirituality brings deep knowing and peace. That peace which comes from being fully seen, loved, adored, even engulfed in Father God, just as Jesus is! And, this is the space to cultivate. This space between Jesus and His Dad, is our home! When we find that “space”, we are home already, as St Paul was, and are willing to “do” whatever. Love God, and do whatever, as St Augustine put it. Van Gogh, a former pastor, comes from the other side: “The way to know God, is to love many things deeply.” We need to develop a father-centric spirituality. When we do, we will manifest the fruits of His Spirit, and live in a Peace which passes all understanding. And we will grow in faith towards a deep knowing trust in The Father.
There is a great patience, even towards ourselves and our own development, in The Spirit of The Father, and great knowing that is able to just be, down here, and allow Him to form Himself more fully in us. There is no tension in Father, but rather a residing knowing in love. When we move out from His Bosom, we bring this Peace to others.
So few creatures are comfortable just being in their own skin, their own contours. We minister, we serve, but we seldom rest in Him. Just allowing Father to enjoy us, and the contours of the poems He made us to be. It is for His Pleasure that we allow Him to just dwell in us! When we do, we become little praise poems about Father God. Little testimonies about His Nature. We start to move into an evangelism of being. When we are truly ourselves, we are testimonies of who God is.
Animals often teach me the most about what it’s like to just be. They are just being themselves, and in doing so, they reflect back on who their creator is; as Merton said—when we are being ourselves it is a praise to God. By being ourselves, we actually praise God!
Are we resting in our Creator, are we resting our being in His Being? For Strong is His Hold, as the american poet, Galway Kinnell puts it. We are those called to enter Jesus’ own spirituality which was and is centered on His Father! And our particular pathways and callings are founded and grounded, eternally in Him already!
People struggle to find their “callings”. But the fact is, the pathways prepared beforehand to be your way, is already there in Him! (Ephesians 2:10) Our “task” is to abide in Him! And to be found in Him at the end.
Am I manifesting the fruits of His Spirit and spirituality, is the best way to measure spiritual growth! His Spirituality is centered on His Father, so ours should be also. Then we will be increasing in all the “fruits of the Spirit” progressively in Him. We are ones who enter another’s spirituality—Jesus’, and His spirituality was entirely focused on His Father!
As we progress in a father centered spirituality we progress from just faith into true trust. This progression towards a true trust in Father God creates an inner solidity and knowing in our lives which becomes a pillar to all those around us.
Through the years, I have been privileged to meet many people who are sitting more fully in the Spirit of The Father. The first woman to really speak deeply into my life was one. She prophecied over my whole life and activated my spiritual calling in me—to be a father to very unique special ones who few could reach etc. Her home was the most peaceful space I had ever been.
Since, then I’ve met many other elders in His Spirit (both women and men) who really model that constant abiding in The Spirit and Ways of The Father. I pray myself to become one who dwells more constantly in the Heavenly Father. The parts of me which resist it, are slowly dying. To become a spiritual parent requires us to know and be known by The Father. When we do, we start to manifest His Presence in a remarkable and tangible way. We become a place of His Peace for many! A portal of His Ways.
Many of us in my generation have had few fatherly examples. Yet, as we enter the spirituality of Jesus Himself, we are immediately turned towards The Father, and start to desire His Ways. We no longer need the validation of others to feel complete. We enter into His praise and adoration of His Son. We take part in The Father’s love towards His Son. As the dutch priest Henri Nouwen put it, we become part of the Beloved. There is no escaping The Father, if we are in love with His Son. His spirituality becomes progressively more and more our own. Or as one priest told me, “you will feel less and less of your own pain, joys, desires, and more and more of His!”
Many of our tensions come from not sitting with and in The Father who is always at Peace in Himself, concerned but not worried, caring but not frantic, in charge of all, but still constantly kind and loving. Let us come to know and be known by Him ever more.
One of the hallmarks of a father spirituality i have seen, is this “bright grief” which the American catholic priest, Richard Rohr speaks of. There is a concern with particular sufferings while at the same time having an awareness of an all engulfing love. Each suffering is a particular example of the general suffering brought about by sin. We care specifically about each person’s pain, and yet are not depressed by it, knowing The Father, and His enormous heart for each person.
I’ve seen this characteristic over and over in truly mature saints. They deeply and genuinely care, but are also not overwhelmed with worry. There is a future light burning in their eyes already, and it brings peace and healing into each particular instance of pain and suffering. In this way, they are able to minister hope and even joy into the darkest of situations. It is the characteristic of a person who has become centered in the relationship of Jesus with His Father. And there is the greatest Peace ever in that space between them.