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By Neil Foley

After the usual rush and bustle of trying to get 4-month-old twin girls ready for Mass on Sunday morning, I was enjoying the slow pace of the after-Mass chat with fellow parishioners. There was the obligatory cooing over the girls to be done. The routine of the proud father recounting what they had done in the previous week, even though the achievements of 4-month-olds are pretty small in the grand scheme of things. It was then that my friend turned to me and said, “when I see the love you have for your twin girls I smile and think how much God, my Father, must love me.”

It was one of those simple yet profound statements that makes you stop and think. Indeed, I would do anything for these beautiful little girls that have been entrusted into my care. I can already feel the endless stream of love that will flow from me to them forever. There is no limit to it, no end, and no cost. How similar this must be to the boundless love our Father has for each of us. An overflowing limitless love that is not earned. A love that cannot be stopped or thwarted by anything we may or may not do.

But if this is the case, why does our Father not remove all our problems and prevent bad things happening to us? Surely a kind father does everything in his power to protect and shield his children from pain and misfortune? Of course, this is the age-old question of a good God allowing suffering in the world – a question dealt with in the Bible and by scholars and philosophers for millennia.  But is this question ever fully resolved in our hearts? Well, I cannot fully answer this ancient quandary either, but, as a father, I know that being a good parent does not mean giving your child everything they demand. In order to grow as human beings, children must learn how to lose just as much, if not more, than how to win. Knowing that they are loved is often more important than any material provision or parental problem fixing.

“When you realise that you are deeply loved by God, it enables you to love deeply” (Rev. Marty Cauley). This line is not a mere saccharine phrase but the words of a deeply religious pastor facing a terminal cancer diagnosis. God, our Father, doesn’t magic away our problems but He will love them away if we accept and acknowledge that love. So next time you see a doting parent, like me, cooing over their beloved child, remember that this is just a shadow of the love being lavished on you at every moment from your own loving Father. A love that may not physically remedy the things of this broken world, but a love that will sustain you and envelop you now and forever.  

Neil Foley is a lay missionary with the Redemptorists in Ireland. He lives in Wexford with his wife, Helen, and twin girls Zélie and Martha, where he also works fulltime as an environmental scientist.

This article originally appeared in Redemptorist Publications in 2022.


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