We are all God’s children, fashioned by His divine hands after His own image and likeness. From all eternity He has thought of us; before time was, we were present to His mind; and through the long ages which have passed away since first this world was made, God busied Himself with our creation, yea has longed for the hour when He could call us His children.
COMMENT: The reality that we are children of God should fill us with a special peace, even amongst the most difficult trials in life. This idea of spiritual childhood, or divine filiation, was an important aspect of the spirituality of Fr Doyle, and indeed of many other great spiritual writers. It may be useful to present two examples from other great spiritual writers.
Firstly, St Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei who was himself an admirer of Fr Doyle:
We’ve got to be convinced that God is always near us. We live as though he were far away, in the heavens high above, and we forget that he is also continually by our side.
He is there like a loving Father. He loves each one of us more than all the mothers in the world can love their children — helping us, inspiring us, blessing… and forgiving.
How often we have misbehaved and then cleared the frowns from our parents’ brows, telling them: I won’t do it any more! — That same day, perhaps, we fall again… — And our father, with feigned harshness in his voice and serious face, reprimands us, while in his heart he is moved, realizing our weakness and thinking: poor child, how hard he tries to behave well!
We’ve got to be filled, to be imbued with the idea that our Father, and very much our Father, is God who is both near us and in heaven.
Secondly, let us consider the following from Blessed Columba Marmion, the great Benedictine spiritual writer who, it has been suggested, may end up being a Doctor of the Church, and specifically the Doctor of Divine Adoption. Here he speaks of the burning love of God, and His desire not to leave us orphans:
When we consider the mysteries of the life of Jesus, which of His perfections do we see especially shine out? It is Love. Love brought about the Incarnation. Love caused Christ to be born in mortal and weak flesh, to accept the obscurity of the hidden life, and nourished the zeal of the public life. If Jesus delivers Himself up to death for us, it is because he yields to the excess of measureless Love; He ascends into heaven to prepare a place for us, and sends us the Paraclete so as not to leave us orphans. He institutes the Sacrament of the Eucharist as a memorial of His Love. All the mysteries of the life of Christ have their source in Love.
Let us cling to the love of the God who will not fail us, both in good times and in bad.