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. The 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. For example, it played a prominent role in the spirituality of St Therese of Lisieux and it is perhaps no coincidence that Fr Doyle was an early and avid devotee of this saint. Today we will include two quotes from other recent saints on this issue.
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:
Great as are the saints, exalted as they are in the state of supernatural union, the first principle of all their holiness is to be found in the grace of Divine adoption. I have already said, but now wish to repeat, that all the graces, all the gifts God bestows on us, have their source in that Divine regard of predestination by which we have been called to be children of God through the grace of Jesus Christ. There is the dawning of all God’s mercies towards us. All the loving dealings of God with each of us are linked to this grace of adoption which Jesus brought us and which we received at baptism. Oh, if we but knew the gift of God!
Let us cling to the love of this God who will not fail us, both in good times and in bad.