Yea I know, it was Sunday and I missed it ..no, not quite!

Last night as I prayed in front of the Blessed Sacrament what hit me was the love of the Father, God our father and how Jesus brings us to know the father.

I contrasted this with our world and how and where we use the word ‘father’.

Obviously we use it for our dads and for priests and yet many of us have been wounded by these same fathers.

Last Sunday we had Father’s Day and it was very striking how different it was from mother’s day. On Facebook there were far less ads, in the shops far less cards and gifts….it seemed minimalistic to say the least.

And yet is God the Father less gentle and less loving than Our Lady?

Is He a kind of a macho God with a gym up in heaven doing weights as Our Lady worries about her children?!

Obviously not!! And yet we still live in this society where fathers and men are somehow supposed to be strong and strong means ‘hard’ in this context.

Yet the Father is none of these things. He is both strong and weak in our worldly understanding because He has the strength to love.

Society often teaches men to close off their hearts, to mortify and ignore their emotions and to just keep on going but this isn’t true strength.

The Father on the other hand calls and teaches us to love from and with our hearts and this requires enormous strength because when you genuinely love others with your heart, their pain becomes your pain, their suffering becomes your suffering and you are moved out of yourself and out of your comfort zone to help.

And referring back to Medjugorje and to the sacred heart and to the divine mercy messages….they all have one thing in common…the heart!

Our Lady calls us to pray with the heart? To pray the rosary with the heart, to attend mass with the heart, to go to confession with the heart, to read the bible with the heart ….

The sacred heart is all about Jesus’ heart pierced for us and again the divine mercy highlights the blood and water gushing forth from the heart of Jesus.

So you see, we are called to expanding our hearts and to allow Jesus’ and the Father’s love to well up in our hearts and push us into action to help others and to love God!

Yet God knows that we can’t do it without Him which is why He wants us to meditate on Him and on His love for us and to allow Him to love us!

My own experience of the Father’s love is that it is beyond all human love. It’s so pure and tender and powerful and yet light and playful and no matter how my day is going it somehow brings out the child in me…the ‘adult child’ you could say!.

The Father likes us to talk to him, share with Him, think about Him and joke with Him and He likes to reveal Himself more and more to us at times through very ordinary things.

Last Sunday for example as I ate my lunch with Rayne I found myself seated across from a dad and son. The dad was so gentle and kind with his child of about 7. As soon as I went out I gave my own dad a call and wished him a happy Father’s Day and while he might not have been the most gentle dad in the world I’ve never doubted that he loves me and that had his own life been different he may well have been the world’s best dad!

Other places I often feel where the love of the father is reflected to me includes the gym, church etc. and when I meet men in the caring professions such as nursing. For some reasons male doctors often seemed stressed and often fall short of the love one might hope to receive …at least in my experience.

Yet all that aside, the question I must ask myself today is how much of the Father’s love do other people see from me and experience from interacting with me?

And you must ask yourself the same question!

Only to the degree that I know my heavenly father from my heart will I be able to love others with His love and it’s the same for all of us.

And this is why He is calling us to Him so that He can heal our hearts of the fears and wounds and traumas that block us and hold us back in both our own relationship with Him and in our ministries.

Personally I thank God for the gift of being gay because I think that I’ve learnt more about the gentleness and sensitivity of the father from gay men than from any other group of men. Perhaps that is our mission as gay men, to show the heart of the Father and break down these silly stereotypes that misrepresent Him and portray Him as distant and aloof.

And so today no matter how busy you are, take some time to spend with the Father and allow Him to work on your heart and the areas of hardness and pain.

As for me, I’m off the the gym now agree then to St. Mary’s Hospital where Rayne is in the finals of a talent competition for NHS staff! Will let you know how he gets on!

Happy 41st ordination anniversary to Paul as well today and may the Father pour heavenly blessings on Him!

Have a super day and may we all grow that little bit closer to the Father’s heart of love and mercy each and every day!

Michael