“You’re adopted!”---and then the river of tears would begin. Oh the horrible anxiety that filled your little heart when you heard this from your sibling’s mouth as a child, until your mother brought out the baby pictures! Then you rested assured that, truly, regardless of the persistent harassment, you were not adopted.
Setting aside the possibility that this might actually be a reality for some of our readers, I only want to bring up one point for thought today for whoever may be reading this, regardless of your biological history. It’s something that a Religious Sister shared in a philosophy class here in Ethiopia almost a year ago:
“There is no excuse for us to live and act like orphans; our Father has never been absent.”
Often times we walk around spiritually downcast because we are buying into the lie that we are abandoned, that God is not with us in a difficult situation, or that we are not our Father’s children. We may be thinking that we are already a lost cause because we’ve fallen into sin so many times before. Or we may think that because we keep struggling with the same things, God has given up on us and left us to our own devices. What lies! Our Father is really a “Good, Good Father”----Chris Tomlin wasn’t making this up! And a good father never abandons his children.
A doctor I met here in Ethiopia last year had an impressive story to share about a good father. It was many years ago. The doctor, then only a medical student, was volunteering at one of the convents of the Missionaries of Charity. There was a wide spread sickness during that time and many were flocking to receive aid from the Sisters.
He still has this day ingrained in his memory. He was standing outside of the gate at the Sisters’ compound. A father was coming down the road carrying his two children. As the man approached, the doctor (then medical student) noticed that the children were both severely malnourished and probably had the same sickness of which others were dying.
When the man reached my friend, he handed his children over to him, looked him in the eyes, and, after seeing they were safe, he simply collapsed and died. It was an intense story and almost hard to believe. Yet, it was true. This father had probably been walking for many miles. He was tired, thirsty, and sick yet he would not give up, he would not stop, until he knew that his children were safe, cared for, and had the possibility of living… even if it killed him.
I was so struck by this image; by the love and sacrifice of this father toward his children. They probably will never know everything their father did for them and that he is the reason they are alive. How sad it would be if all their lives these two children went around thinking their father had abandoned them and never wanted them? How sad if these children never heard the truth that their father loved them dearly and had carried them all the way to safety?
Yet, isn’t this how we walk around? We think our Father has abandoned us, that He doesn’t want us, that we are a nuisance and He doesn’t care for us. How truly sad if we believed we were orphans, forgotten by the all-knowing God. It would be a sorry story to tell if we Christian women lived our whole life not knowing the truth that we are loved dearly by our Heavenly Father and that-- as the “Footprints on the Sand” story goes-- He has carried us when life has been most difficult and we could not walk.
So as we find ourselves in the middle of the holiest week of the year, I propose to you that we we abstain from an orphan mentality in our spiritual life. I propose that we turn a deaf ear to the devil’s provocations, “If you are the son of God…” knowing that we are sons in the Son.
I pray we lay down this thought pattern and begin to live as the children of our Father, no matter what anyone says. Is this not the promise of God? “I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you” (John 14:18).
May we know in our deepest core the truth that we are daughters of God our Father.
Revised March 26, 2018.
Rocio Perez is currently living in Ethiopia where her days consist of orphanage visits, English classes, chastity talks, and UNO nights with friends. She has lived in a discernment house called Casa Guadalupe and served in the chastity ministry, Corazon Puro, as well as other groups within the Catholic Church. Rocio considers herself indebted to John Paul II and hopes to spend the rest of her life sharing the Good News of the Theology of the Body. She loves to dance and enjoys good chocolate and bold sunsets.