“No one must doubt that he is the recipient of [the Father’s] love,” the pope said Feb. 20. “He loves us, he loves me, we can say. He loves us even if our father and our mother have not loved us, there is a God in heaven who loves us as nobody on this earth has ever done and will ever do.”
At his weekly general audience, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the ‘Our Father,’ focusing on the start of the prayer and the words: “Our Father, who art in heaven…”
This means, he said, that though it is impossible to find perfect love on earth, among imperfect creatures, “there is another love, that of the Father ‘who is in heaven.’”
“This is a perfect love,” he commented. “If all our earthly loves also crumble, and there remains nothing but dust, there is always for all of us, burning, the unique love of God.”
Quoting the prophet Isaiah, he said: “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.”
This expression of a Father “in heaven” is meant to express a difference, not a distance, he explained. It is a tireless love that never ends and is always within reach.
This contrasts with the love of human beings, he noted, who though trying their hardest to love others, will be forced to face the reality of their limitations, the “poverty of our forces,” and the difficulty of keeping promises that in a moment of grace may have seemed easy to achieve.
Noting the fashion of getting tattoos, the pope said that for God, it is like his people are “tattooed” on the palm of his hands; it cannot be erased.
“Therefore, do not be afraid!” he urged. “None of us is alone.”
Even if someone has the misfortune of having an earthly father who has forgotten them, they have not been denied “the fundamental experience of the Christian faith,” he said, “of knowing that you are a beloved child of God, and that there is nothing in life that can extinguish his passionate love for you.”