HomeQuestions & AnswersI believe in God the Father Almighty
Questions & Answers

I believe in God the Father Almighty

Tags: Doctrine, Faith, God, Father
Who tells us that God is Father? How does God reveal that he is Love? What does it mean when we say that God is almighty? Why is God both Father and Almighty? Why does evil exist? If God is Father, is he my Father? If I am God’s child, how can I relate to him? Doesn’t that relationship take away our freedom as human beings? Can we trust God?

1. Who tells us that God is Father?

Jesus Christ revealed to us that God is “Father”, not only insofar as he created the universe and the mankind, but above all because he eternally generated in his bosom the Son who is his Word, “ the radiance of the glory of God and the very stamp of his nature” (Hebrews 1:3). (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 46; Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 240-242)

We can invoke God as “Father” because he is revealed to us by his Son made man, and because his Spirit makes him known to us. The personal relation of the Son to the Father is something that man cannot conceive of nor the angelic powers even dimly see (cf. Jn 1:1): and yet, the Spirit of the Son grants a participation in that very relation to us who believe that Jesus is the Christ and that we are born of God (cf. 1 Jn 5:1). (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2780)

Contemplating the mystery

When we recite the Creed, we state that we believe in God the Father Almighty, in his Son Jesus Christ, who died and rose again, and in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life. We affirm that the Church, one, holy, catholic and apostolic, is the body of Christ, enlivened by the Holy Spirit. We rejoice in the forgiveness of sins and in the hope of the resurrection. But do those words penetrate to the depths of our own heart? Or do they remain only on our lips? The divine message of victory, the joy and the peace of Pentecost, should be the unshakeable foundation for every Christian’s way of thinking and acting and living. (Christ is Passing By, 129)

Jesus has gone away. He sends us the Holy Spirit, who directs and sanctifies our souls. The action of the Paraclete within us confirms what Christ had announced – that we are children of God, that we “have not received a spirit of bondage so as to be again in fear, but... a spirit of adoption as sons, by virtue of which we cry: Abba! Father!” (Christ is Passing By, 118)

2. How does God reveal that he is Love?

God revealed himself to Israel as the One who has a stronger love than that of parents for their children or of husbands and wives for their spouses. God in himself “is love” (1 John 4: 8.16), who gives himself completely and gratuitously, who “so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:16-17). By sending his Son and the Holy Spirit, God reveals that he himself is an eternal exchange of love. (Compendium of the Catechism, no. 47; cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 218-221)

This supernatural acceptance of suffering was, precisely, the greatest of all conquests
“Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins.” (1 Jn 4:7-10)

Contemplating the mystery

Can we realize that God loves us and not be overcome with love ourselves? We must let these truths of faith fill our soul until they change our life. God loves us! The Almighty who made heaven and earth! (Christ is Passing By, no. 144)

3. What does it mean to say that God is Almighty?

God reveals himself as “the strong One, the mighty One” (Psalm 24:8), as the One “to whom nothing is impossible” (Luke 1:37). His omnipotence is universal, mysterious and shows itself in the creation of the world out of nothing and humanity out of love; but above all it shows itself in the Incarnation and the Resurrection of his Son, in the gift of filial adoption and in the forgiveness of sins. For this reason, the Church directs her prayers to the “almighty and eternal God” (“Omnipotens sempiterne Deus... ”). (Compendium of the Catechism, no. 50; cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 268-278)

Contemplating the mystery

It looks as if the whole world is coming down on top of you. Whichever way you turn you find no way out. This time, it is impossible to overcome the difficulties. But – have you again forgotten that God is your Father? All-powerful, infinitely wise, full of mercy. He would never send you anything that is evil. That thing that is worrying you, it’s good for you, even though those earthbound eyes of yours may not be able to see it now. (The Way of the Cross, 9th Station, point 4)

4. Why is God Father, and Almighty?

God is the Father Almighty, whose fatherhood and power shed light on one another: God reveals his fatherly omnipotence by the way he takes care of our needs (cf. Mt 6:32); by the filial adoption that he gives us (“I will be a father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty”: 2 Cor 6:18)); finally by his infinite mercy, for he displays his power at its height by freely forgiving sins. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 270)

Contemplating the mystery

Our Father God, when we come to him repentant, draws, from our wretchedness, treasure; from our weakness, strength. What then will he prepare for us, if we don’t forsake him, if we go to him daily, if we talk lovingly to him and confirm our love with deeds, if we go to him for everything, trusting in his almighty power and mercy? If the return of a son who had betrayed him is enough for him to prepare a banquet, what will he have in store for us, who have tried to remain always at his side? (Friends of God, 309)

5. If God is almighty and cares for all with his Providence, then why does evil exist? Why does God permit it?

To this question, as painful and mysterious as it is, only the whole of Christian faith can constitute a response. God is not in any way – directly or indirectly – the cause of evil. He illuminates the mystery of evil in his Son Jesus Christ who died and rose in order to vanquish that great moral evil, human sin, which is at the root of all other evils. (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 57)

Faith gives us the certainty that God would not permit evil if he did not cause a good to come from that very evil. This was realized in a wondrous way by God in the death and resurrection of Christ. In fact, from the greatest of all moral evils (the murder of his Son) he has brought forth the greatest of all goods (the glorification of Christ and our redemption). (Compendium of the Catechism , no. 58; cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 218-221)

Contemplating the mystery

Suffering is part of God’s plans. This is the truth, however difficult it may be for us to understand it. It was difficult for Jesus Christ the man to undergo his passion: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but yours be done.” In this tension of pleading and acceptance of the Father’s will, Jesus goes calmly to his death, pardoning those who crucify him.
This supernatural acceptance of suffering was, precisely, the greatest of all conquests. By dying on the cross Jesus overcame death. God brings life from death. The attitude of a child of God is not one of resignation to a possibly tragic fate; it is the sense of achievement of someone who has a foretaste of victory. In the name of this victorious love of Christ, we Christians should go out into the world to be sowers of peace and joy through everything we say and do. We have to fight – a fight of peace – against evil, against injustice, against sin. Thus we serve notice that the present condition of mankind is not definitive. Only the love of God, shown in the heart of Christ, will attain the glorious spiritual triumph of men. (Christ is Passing By, no. 168)

6. If God is Father, is he also my Father?

God’s love for Israel is compared to a father’s love for his son (cf. Os 11:1). His love for his people is stronger than a mother’s for her children (cf. Is 49:14-15). God loves his people more than a bridegroom his beloved (Is 62:4-5); his love will be victorious over even the worst infidelities. (…) (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 219)

Our awareness of our status as slaves would make us sink into the ground and our earthly condition would dissolve into dust, if the authority of our Father himself and the Spirit of his Son had not impelled us to this cry . . . ‘Abba, Father!’ . . . When would a mortal dare call God ‘Father,’ if man’s innermost being were not animated by power from on high?” (St Peter Chrysologus, Sermon 71, 3). (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2777)

“So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh – for if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (Rom 8:12-17)

Contemplating the mystery

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him ... and lo, a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Mt 3:13, 17). In Baptism, our Father God has taken possession of our lives. He has made us sharers in Christ’s life and sent us the Holy Spirit. (…) God has placed an indelible mark on your soul through Baptism: you are a child of God. Child, are you not aflame with the desire to bring all men to love him? (Holy Rosary, 1st Luminous Mystery)

Divine filiation is a joyful truth, a consoling mystery. It fills all our spiritual life, it shows us how to speak to God, to know and to love our Father in heaven. And it makes our interior struggle overflow with hope and gives us the trusting simplicity of little children. More than that: precisely because we are children of God, we can contemplate in love and wonder everything as coming from the hands of our Father, God the Creator. And so we become contemplatives in the middle of the world, loving the world. (Christ is Passing By, no. 65)

7. If I am God’s child, how can I relate to him?

The free gift of adoption requires on our part continual conversion and new life
We can adore the Father because he has caused us to be reborn to his life by adopting us as his children in his only Son: by Baptism, he incorporates us into the Body of Christ; through the anointing of his Spirit who flows from the head to the members, he makes us “other Christs.” “The new man, reborn and restored to his God by grace, says first of all, ‘Father!’ because he has now begun to be a son” (St Cyprian of Carthage, De Dominica Oratione, 9). (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2782)

The free gift of adoption requires on our part continual conversion and new life. Praying to our Father should develop in us two fundamental dispositions: First, the desire to become like him: though created in his image, we are restored to his likeness by grace; and we must respond to this grace. “We must remember . . . that when we call God ‘our Father,’ we ought to behave as sons of God (St Cyprian of Carthage, De Dominica Oratione, 11).
Second, a humble and trusting heart that enables us “to turn and become like children”: for it is to “little children” that the Father is revealed. “Our Father: at this name love is aroused in us . . . and the confidence of obtaining what we are about to ask. . . . What would he not give to his children who ask, since he has already granted them the gift of being his children?” (St Augustine, De Sermone Domini in Monte, 2, 4, 16). (Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 2784-2785)

Contemplating the mystery

A child of God treats the Lord as his Father. He is not obsequious and servile, he is not merely formal and well-mannered: he is completely sincere and trusting. Men do not scandalise God. He can put up with all our infidelities. Our Father in heaven pardons any offence when his children return to him, when we repent and ask for pardon. The Lord is such a good Father that he anticipates our desire to be pardoned and comes forward to us, opening his arms laden with grace. (Christ is Passing By, no. 64)

Rest in your divine filiation. God is a Father – your Father! – full of warmth and infinite love. Call him Father frequently and tell him, when you are alone, that you love him, that you love him very much! And that you feel proud and strong because you are his son. (The Forge, 331)

Note the surprising thing about this reply. The disciples share their daily lives with Jesus and there, in the course of their ordinary conversations, Our Lord tells them how they should pray. He reveals to them the great secret of God’s mercy: that we are children of God and we can talk things over with him and spend time with him, just as trustingly as a son does with his father. (Friends of God, 145)

8. Doesn’t that relationship take away man’s freedom? Can we trust God?

God created man a rational being, conferring on him the dignity of a person who can initiate and control his own actions. “God willed that man should be ‘left in the hand of his own counsel,’ so that he might of his own accord seek his Creator and freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to him” (Gaudium et Spes, 17). (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1730)

By his glorious Cross Christ has won salvation for all men. He redeemed them from the sin that held them in bondage. “For freedom Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1). In him we have communion with the “truth that makes us free” (Jn 8:32). The Holy Spirit has been given to us and, as the Apostle teaches, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor 3:17). Already we glory in the “liberty of the children of God” (Rom 8:21). (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1741)

Contemplating the mystery

Words cannot go so far as the heart, which is moved by God’s goodness. He says to us: “You are my son.” Not a stranger, not a well-treated servant, not a friend – that would be a lot already. A son! He gives us free access to treat him as sons, with a son’s piety and I would even say with the boldness and daring of a son whose Father cannot deny him anything. (Christ is Passing By, no. 185)

In your heart and soul, in your intelligence and in your will, implant a spirit of trust and abandonment to the loving Will of your heavenly Father... —From this will arise the interior peace you desire. (Furrow, no. 850)