8. Our Father
In the countryside
It is a very beautiful day today. The sun is shining in the blue sky and warms the earth with its rays.
In the green fields surrounding the village, white flowers and anemones made a wonderful colourful natural carpet that is a pleasure to see.
The bleating of the little animals grazing without a care in the meadows together with the sounds of birds tirelessly chirping on the branches of the trees in the morning, make a fascinating lovely melody which is spreading throughout the whole village.
Angela’s little sheep, Snowy, is in a good mood today. It is running up and down happily with Angela’s little dog, Jack, and makes her laugh with its playful antics.
It is so beautiful outside today, that you don’t want to be in the house. Mum Sophia, who understood the desire of her daughter, asked her:
-Do you want my Angela to go for a walk in the fields to gather flowers and play with your little sheep?
Before mum Sophia's question was finished, it was accepted by Angela’s cries of joy showing her excitement. Mother quickly got her little son Joseph ready; in a small basket she put some fruits, a piece of bread and fresh cheese which was given to them by Mr. Pantelis, the shepherd.
The path through the green fields, with the white flowers moving rhythmically in a cool breeze, is something wonderful. The smell of the flowers perfumed the fresh air that you couldn’t get enough of the delightful aroma. Tall trees with countless birds which were praising our good God and the little river which was flowing slowly, without haste, on the edge of the forest, made a fabulous picture.
Mum Sophia was proud of her two children playing on the grass without a care, and was thanking her sweet heavenly Father God, who made her worthy to have such a blessed family.
Sophia loved her husband very much and considered him one of the greatest gifts given to her by God. But she also adored her children very much and never stopped praising her heavenly Father for the three little angels He had given to her. Her dream was for her home to be a small garden of love, gratitude and adoration to her king God.
Sophia adored her God the Father as a baby adores his mum. For her, God was the sweetest Mum and the tenderest Dad. She believed that the biggest mistake that man can make to his God is not to love and trust in Him. She was telling her children many times that the greatest joy in love is trust.
Trust was for Sophia the true proof that two people really love each other. She believed that the only thing that our good God asks from all His children is to trust Him and to obey His Fatherly advice.
Every parent here on earth loves his child and always wants his happiness and what is best for him. For this reason, he always advises and guides him to follow the path of virtue and to avoid evil. But if the child does not trust his parent, it will be very difficult to follow his advice.
Many times selfishness succeeds in persuading a child that he knows what to do and he doesn’t need the wise and life-saving advice of his parents. How many children followed the wrong path and how many of them were destroyed because they didn’t want to trust the wise experience of their parents!
Sophia was a young mother with few experiences in life, but her great trust in her God and to His holy fatherly commands, made her a very prudent and wise woman. The result of her great trust in God the Father, was the serenity she had in her soul, which was following her like a divine heavenly fragrance everywhere. This internal happiness of her soul, which brings serenity, was felt not only by her husband and children but also by all her relatives and friends who loved her very much.
One day Sophia said to her older daughter, Christina, that the glory of a real woman in her home and family is the serenity of her heart that is like a fragrance that perfumes the whole house. She advised her, if she wants to always be joyful and happy when she gets married and has her own home, she should give her soul with absolute trust to her good God and have serenity in her heart. Sophia now wanted to teach these two things to her little angel, Angela.
An embrace full of love and affection
Angela couldn’t get enough of playing with her little brother and her sheep. Her cries of joy sounded like a melody to her mum’s ears, who rejoiced with her happiness. But the most beautiful moment of joy had not come yet.
Angela and her brother are now picking the most beautiful white flowers and anemones to offer them to their mum. When they gathered them, they both came joyfully to their mother, who was sitting next to a nice spring under a large tree enjoying the beauty of nature.
-Mum, look what we gathered for you, I and Joseph! Look what beautiful flowers we brought for you!
Sophia took the beautiful flowers, smelled them with a feeling of pleasure and then hugged her two gorgeous lilies, Joseph and Angela, and covered them with caresses and kisses.
-How much we love you mum, Angela repeated over and over!
-I also adore you my little flowers, Sophia repeated again and again, embracing her little priceless treasures tightly.
-I feel, my mummy, so happy when I'm in your arms, that I don’t want to ever leave them!
-My embrace will always be yours full of love and affection, my sweet little girl.
-Mummy, is God's embrace as sweet as yours?
-It is, my baby, even sweeter, warmer, tenderer and more affectionate.
-Mummy, you told me that you love me up to the sun in the sky. How much does our good God love me?
-His love for us, my Angela, can never be measured because it is infinite. As no one can count the grains of sand on all the beaches on earth or the countless stars that exist in the universe created by our good God, so His love for us is also immeasurable.
-And how much does God love those who hurt Him with many mistakes and great sins?
-His love, my little girl, is the same for His good children and for all sinners too, even if they are the worst people in the world. His love for us is infinite, as infinite as His mercy is for all sinners. Furthermore, He showed it by sending His only begotten Son to earth to become man like us, suffering so much sadness, even crucifixion in order to save us from Satan. And what does He ask from us for all these things, my Angela?
-To love Him with all our heart.
-Yes, my little girl, to love Him and show our love with our absolute trust in Him.
-But how can we show Him our trust and love?
-How do you show your love and trust in me?
-I hug you, I kiss you, I tell you how much I love you and I always do what you tell me my mummy!
Our Heavenly Father
Sophia realized that she had to help her little daughter to understand how important it is to feel that God was her own Father and use this faith to support the foundation of true happiness in her life.
Therefore, she suggests to her to act towards her heavenly God the Father as Sophia does.
-That’s how you will act towards our good God too, my Angela. You will love Him with all your heart and you will call Him…, tell me, what will you call Him?
-My heavenly Dad!
-Well done my Angela! That’s how you will feel and call Him: "My sweet heavenly Dad, I love you very much." I also feel and call Him so continuously in my prayers, my child. He likes all the prayers we say to Him very much, but most of all He likes this very short prayer. He wants us to call Him our Father because He gave us life and He granted us our soul. Do you remember in which prayer He Himself taught us to call Him so?
-In "Our Father, who art in heaven ..."
-Well done, my Angela! When His disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray, He told them that prayer. Come on; tell us now this beautiful prayer to remember once again its nice words.
-"Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be Thy name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy 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; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen. "
-We should say this prayer many times a day, my child. So, we remember every moment how we should live according to our good God’s Will.
-Mummy, can you explain it better to me so that I understand its deeper meanings?
-Yes my Angela, indeed, the few words of that prayer, include many deep meanings that whoever can understand them, will understand why this prayer has so much power. Since you’re still a little child, I will try to explain to you some of these meanings simply, with just a few words.
-When I grow up, will I be able to understand them all?
-You will understand them, not so much if you grow up, but more so if you love our King God with all your heart and will want to live in absolute trust and obedience to His Divine Will. Then the Holy Spirit will cover you and our heavenly Father will reveal them in your soul.
-My sweet mum, how much I am longing to become as our beloved good God wants me to, so that I feel Him in my heart explaining to me the mysteries of His love!
-I am also longing, my Angela, for you to become our heavenly Father’s sweetest girl in the world, who will love and adore Him with all the power of your soul!
The Lord's Prayer
-A parent’s greatest happiness, my Angela, is for his child to be happy on this earth. Therefore, he tries with his experience and various advices to show his child the right path to follow in order to achieve it. Isn’t this what I and your dad are doing for you? Don’t we try with our motherly and fatherly advices to help you to become good and happy people on earth?
-So, my child, our good God like a sweet Mummy and affectionate Father that He is, wants to teach all His children how to live on this earth, so that they will be joyful and happy. That’s exactly what the Lord’s prayer says: "Our Father ...". What we have to pay attention to, what to ask for from our good God and how to live so that our King God will live in our hearts.
-Why mum do you call it the Lord's Prayer? Because we say it in church every Sunday?
-No, my child. We call it the Lord's Prayer because it has been taught to people by our Lord and God Himself. For this reason, this prayer is so important, so that we should say it often and pay attention to its words.
- Mum, I am looking forward to hearing its meaning.
-First of all, as you can understand my Angela, this prayer begins as our good God wants us to call Him. "Our Father, who art in heaven", that is "our heavenly Father." He wants us never to forget that He is our holy Creator and our soul will return to Him after the death of our body. He wants us to know that we are not eternal on this earth but temporary.
We came to this earth to live as His children in the small temporary paradise and to prove by living correctly, that we are children of our good God. If we live according to His Holy Will, then He will give us the Holy Spirit and after the death of our body, He will put our soul into His heavenly Kingdom, where we will eternally enjoy the supreme happiness of His divine presence, without end. In the Kingdom of heaven there is no pain, sadness, sorrow or anything bad and evil but only endless joy and happiness.
-Those, who will not live as our God wants, where will their souls go?
-There, where the bad angels also went, who instead of remaining faithful to our good God, went away from Him together with Lucifer. They, guided by the selfishness of their leader Lucifer, didn’t want to listen to the Archangel Michael who was telling them how wrong it was to follow a creature, such as Lucifer, instead of our Creator, God our Father. The wise words of the Archangel Michael could not convince all the angels who were deceived by Lucifer and so from angels they became demons, from bright beings, dark and evil ones.
-How dangerous it is mummy to listen to those who don’t love and trust our good God!
-It is not just dangerous but also disastrous my child. From this event, it shows, my Angela, what is the greatest mistake which people must be careful not to make, in order not to suffer that which the angels who followed Satan suffered. What is that, my little girl?
-I understood, my mum that the greatest mistake and sin which hurt our Father God is not to trust Him but to believe all those who lead us away from Him.
-This, my little girl, is the greatest sin that a man can commit and go away from our heavenly Father.
-Those people, mum, who do not trust our good God, whom do they trust?
-They trust only themselves, like Lucifer, and do what they think is good for them. They don’t think what is right, but they do what pleases them, regardless if this doesn’t agree with God's Will and it is not good for their soul. Their selfishness makes them sometimes follow faithfully what Lucifer himself tells them secretly in their souls.
-Don’t they fear that Satan may cause them a great evil?
-No, my child, on the contrary, they do bad things with much joy, which glorify and praise Satan as if he was god, and go against our good God and His holy commandments.
-Mummy, what bad things do they do?
-Well, they call out Satan's name to cast spells to harm someone. In the olden days, before our King Jesus came to become man and to teach us the perfect virtue through His Holy Gospel, many people instead of believing in the one true God, worshipped various idols in which evil spirits who had followed Lucifer were hiding.
-But today, now that everyone believes in Christ, how does Satan succeed in removing people from our good God?
-Today Satan works more cunningly, my child, to bring near him and his satanic will all the children of God. First of all he does this by giving them lots of cares to make them think of earthly possessions and to forget their Creator, then he makes them struggle for some possessions and want to greedily live only to obtain them.
-So people cling only to them and become ambitious, moneygrabber and sensual. Others demand with passion only money or glory, and to obtain them may even kill other people. All wars that happen on earth are caused by this reason. Satan manages to convince people that he is the god of this world and when they follow him, he will give them many false earthly joys and pleasures. Although people know that all these are fake and temporary, they trust Satan and follow him.
-Don’t they know that in this bad way they live, our good God will not put them in His heavenly Kingdom?
-No, my Angela, because the deceitful Satan persuaded them that there is neither God nor a heavenly Kingdom.
-He tells them such great lies and they believe him?
-Yes, my baby, by his fake joys that he gives them he makes them, not only to believe him but also to trust him. That’s why the greatest virtue, which Satan fears so much, is the absolute trust in our good God. He can easily hurt anyone by his evil antics, but cannot easily approach someone whose soul is dedicated to God with absolute trust. The fire of the Holy Spirit that covers and protects this soul burns and scares him as nothing else. Therefore, absolutely trust God our King and always be willing to do His Holy Will so that the evil Satan never has power in your soul.
The kingdom of happiness
-Mum, since the kingdom of God is in heaven, why do we say in the Lord’s Prayer "Thy kingdom come"?
-Heaven and earth, my Angela, are the great creation of God our Father. The absolute Lord of heaven and earth is only our creator God and all this creation is His kingdom. However, we separate it into earthly and heavenly kingdoms, because some people are still living in this earthly kingdom and others, after the death of their body, are already in the heavenly one, close to God our Father.
All those souls who, as long as they lived on earth, loved God and their fellow man, are in the heavenly kingdom.
All of us, who are fighting the good fight of virtue, as it is requested by our good God through His Holy Gospel, are in the earthly kingdom.
If we live with love and goodness, according to His Will, then, after the death of our mortal body, we will go close to Him in the heavenly kingdom, along with all His faithful beloved children; providing that we apply in our lives what it says next in the prayer " thy will be done".
-If we do His Will, will His kingdom come to us?
-Yes, my Angela! If we do His Holy Will with humility and simplicity, then He comes into our heart and fills it in advance with the grace of His Holy Spirit, until He will finally lift us up into His holy heavenly kingdom.
-What do we feel then mum?
-We feel and live things, my child, which only holy souls in His heavenly kingdom enjoy forever. He comes into the childish heart of those souls, who love our Lord with all their heart and call Him heavenly Dad, to flood it with His divine love and the Holy Spirit. Then this soul lives, even in this life, with the presence of Almighty God with all its joys and blessings in his heart. He lives a never-ending serenity and joy and an inner happiness that no one can describe. In a few words, he lives the kingdom of heavenly happiness, which only the presence of God gives.
-And what does "hallowed be thy name", mean?
-Our God’s name is glorified, my little girl, when we live a holy life here on earth. Every time we do God’s Will and live with love, goodness, compassion, politeness and all the virtues, then the sweet name of God our Father is spoken with a lot of respect and love by everyone.
It is the moment that His name becomes a symbol of love and sign of goodness, that people want to believe and follow Him with trust.
His name is sanctified and glorified when our own life makes some people also believe like us in our good God as their own Father and God.
-Now I understand the wonderful words of this prayer, my mother. I will always try to do the Will of my heavenly Father, as the prayer says "thy Will be done” so that He will make me worthy one day for the coming of the kingdom of the Holy Spirit to live in my heart and so my beloved King and God will be glorified because of me.
Angela’s last words made her mother weep with emotion for her little angel and she took her in her arms to cover her with lots of caresses and kisses.
The bread of life
Angela was enjoying the greatest happiness in her mum’s embrace.
Her mum’s love was for her the most precious thing here on earth.
Sophia understood her daughter’s feelings; therefore, she often held these treasured loving feelings inside her motherly heart.
When she asked her once if she wanted to make a sandwich for her, she said:
-My mummy, most of all I want to be in your embrace rather than eat!
And now, that she is holding her in her arms, she knows that her little girl is hungry, but she first waits for her to enjoy her motherly embrace and then makes her something to eat.
However, she finds the right time to talk to her about "our daily bread" which we are begging for in the Lord's Prayer.
-What do you want most now, my Angela? To remain a little while in my embrace or shall I make you a sandwich to eat?
-Mum, I will eat later, now I like being in your arms!
-You see, my sweet child that as precious as bread and food are for our lives, the bread of love which makes the soul strong and happy is even more precious. When we ask in the Lord’s Prayer "give us this day our daily bread" it is referring to both; to the necessary food which man needs to survive, but also to the grace of the Holy Spirit, which is the real food of the soul. So, when we ask Him to give us "our daily bread" we ask Him to give us the necessary food for our body but also to flood us with the Holy Spirit and divine love, which is the food of the soul.
Our most merciful Father
-Mum, does God forgive us easily when we make mistakes and commit sins?
-My little girl, God is most merciful but, at the same time, is also righteous. His fatherly love sometimes is expressed as compassion and other times as justice.
As a Father He gets upset when He sees His children make mistakes and commit sins, but He is always ready to forgive them when He sees sincere repentance for their mistakes and a will to change their lives. Then, He doesn’t only forgive them, but He surrounds them with more affection and love.
-But when they don’t repent for their mistakes, what does He do then?
-What every wise father does to his unrepentant children. He teaches them ways to help them change. If they don’t change, then His divine righteousness intervenes through various actions, even punishment which will awaken His child’s sleeping conscience.
Whatever He does, however, He aims to help His child to repent for his mistakes, to release him from Satan’s evil nets and to save his soul.
-Mum, our heavenly Father is very wise like my dad!
-My little girl, He is not just wise but knows everything. He only cares about seeing all His children happy in His heavenly kingdom. Therefore, He rejoices when He sees us repent for our mistakes and apologize to Him.
Then we give Him the opportunity to enter our soul and to purify it from all our mistakes by His divine mercy. But on the condition that we forgive those who harm us.
That’s why in the Lord's Prayer we say "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us", that is forgive our mistakes, as we forgive those who hurt us. Our heavenly Father wants us to be merciful to all, as He is with us.
-My mummy, from today on, I will easily forgive all my classmates at school and I will not get angry when they tease me sometimes.
-Well done, my Angela. In this way, you will be like our heavenly Father and at the same time, Satan cannot easily tease you with his evil tricks.
-How can we escape from Satan’s nets?
-Satan, my Angela, cannot easily hurt people who love our good God and obey His fatherly commands. Absolute trust in our God frightens Satan. He takes courage and teases us only when we leave God’s embrace and we do our own will, believing with selfishness that we know what is right. That’s why we must never trust our own thoughts, but must always do what God wants and what our good spiritual parents advise us.
-Now I understand why we have to continually beg in our prayer "and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil".
Angela was very happy with all the good things she had learned today from her wise mother. But it was getting late and little Joseph was already feeling sleepy.
After gathering up all their things that were on the grass, Mum Sophia and her two children began the return journey to their nice home.