Thankfully, I have many great memories of my dad on this Father’s Day, and I am even more grateful for the opportunity to still make more memories with him, even though there is now a bit more distance between us, from Wyoming to Indiana.
One memory that many probably share is of our dad’s reading a story to us. I would propose that in this simple life experience, as in so many others, there is a “lesson” on the Trinity. What child at one stage does not enjoy having someone read them a story, especially mom or dad?
Think about it. What are stories made up of? Words; think WORD. How is a story told? By speaking; think, the voice of the Father, who communicates the Son, Word. What is the effect of hearing a good story? It informs, entertains, stimulates, motivates, even leads to conversion of life and behavior from the inside of the one who listens; think Holy Spirit.
In today’s Office of Readings, we hear from St. Athanasius in a letter to Serapion. He has this to say: “When the Spirit dwells in us, the Word who bestows the Spirit is in us too, and the Father is present in the Word. This is the meaning of the text: My Father and I will come to him and make our home with him.”
When a child listens to a Father read a story, there is not only the excitement of the story, but the comforting voice of the Father. This voice imprints itself on the child’s heart and soul. This voice not only tells the story, but speaks of love, safety, and belonging to the child. The voice of the Father is an important element in creating a strong family bond with the child.
Similarly, our Heavenly Father speaks to us through a Word, a Word spoken in love to communicate the same message of love, safety and belonging to the one family of God. This Word that is spoken to each of us is none other than Jesus Christ. When we receive this Word into our hearts, the fullness of God takes up a dwelling within us. The warmth of this message communicates Wisdom, Truth, Love, and because we are created for this message, for this “communion” the message remains in a powerful and creative way.
The story told by the Father in the words of Scripture is our story, our family story, the history of salvation. In listening to this Word, we find a deeper understanding of our own identity in the person of Jesus. As this Word takes deeper root in our lives, and we are guided by the Spirit which is a part of this indwelling, we discover our place in this history of salvation, and are given what we need to carry out our unique role in the story of life. We become much more aware of the loving voice of the Father, who created us, and leads us through this story of life until we find our way to His eternal home and His eternal presence.
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Happy Father’s day to all our dads, and especially to you, Pop!