Q. Before the Our Father is recited at Mass, the priest says that we “dare to” call God Our Father? Why is praying the Our Father something daring?
A. We often think about God as transcendent and beyond us, and rightfully so. We know that we are finite and he is infinite. God himself has revealed this to us. As Moses approached God in the burning bush, a voice spoke to him saying, “Do not come near; put off your shoes from your feet” (Ex 3:5). There is an infinite gap between God and man, between creature and creator.
Jesus is the one mediator between God and man. He reveals his Heavenly Father, and yet in a human way. Our Lord makes known to us the transcendence of God throughout his ministry. He performs great healings, exorcisms, and even raising the dead back to life.
Jesus also taught about his relationship with the Father. He said, “No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him” (Mt 11:27). The relationship between the Father and Son is unique, and by our own power we would not dare to call God “Our Father.”
However, Jesus invites us to share in this inner life of God for all eternity. As Pope Benedict XVI described it, “Jesus thereby involves us in his own prayer; he leads us into the interior dialogue of triune love.”
Of course, we must enter into this dialogue with perpetual humility. God reveals his great truths to the childlike, and hides them from the learned and proud. When we call God “Our” Father, we do not have him as a possession, but are in relationship with him, which is a completely gratuitous gift from him.
And so, we dare to call God “Our Father” because as baptized in Christ, we have become God’s adopted children.
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