5.21.2009

the furious longing of God

Brennan Manning is once again interrupting my life with the powerful message of Papa's love for me, and you. I have been caught up in this message since the opening pages and find myself subconsciously referring to it throughout my day.

In Ch 3 Manning recalls Luke 11 and the disciples request, “Lord, teach us to pray.” I found the following paragraph powerful:

Our Father. Familiar words, maybe so familiar that they are no longer real. Those words were not only real, but also revolutionary to the twelve disciples. Pagan philosophers such as Aristotle arrived at the existence of God via human reason and referred to Him in vague, impersonal terms: the uncaused cause, the immovable mover. The prophets of Israel revealed the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in a warmer, more compassionate manner. But only Jesus revealed to an astonished Jewish community that God is truly Father. If you took the love of all the best mothers and fathers who have lived in the course of human history, all their goodness, kindness, patience, fidelity, wisdom, tenderness, strength, and love and united all those qualities in a single person, that person’s love would only be a faint shadow of the furious love and mercy in the heart of God the Father addressed to you and me at this moment. (pp 42 & 43)

Manning goes on to discuss the term “Abba.” There’s much to this, but suffice it to say, God’s desire is for us. He has done all of the work to make our relationship with Him an easy one. This next paragraph brought it home for me:

Is your personal prayer life characterized by the simplicity, childlike candor, boundless trust, and easy familiarity of a little one crawling up in Daddy’s lap? An assured knowing that the daddy doesn’t care if the child falls asleep, starts playing with toys, or even starts chatting with little friends, because the daddy knows the child has essentially chosen to be with him for that moment? Is that the spirit of your interior prayer life? (p 44)

Manning ends the chapter with a challenge…take a few moments each day of the next month, close your eyes, upturn your palms and pray, “Abba, I belong to You.” Don’t make it anything more than that, it’s enough.