THE FATHER ALMIGHTY
by Pat Gohn
On the shelf above my kitchen sink – the sink being the place where I do a fair amount of thinking and praying – I have a little sign with this message:
Telling God how big your problems are? Tell your problems how big God is!
That little sign reminds me of the Creed and the foundations of my trust in God.
When we pray the words, “I believe in one God, the Father almighty,” we declare the bigness of God – his omnipotence. Those same words profess a Father who loves us, as well as acknowledging our identity as beloved daughters and sons.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), paragraph 278, offers a compelling question:
If we don’t believe that God’s love is almighty, how can we believe that the Father could create us, the Son redeem us, and the Holy Spirit sanctify us?
Pondering this challenges me, and makes me think deeply. It might as well have asked me: “How big is your God?” Or maybe, “How small is your faith?” But even if I don’t have it all figured out, I can lean on this much… I can trust that God is bigger than my misunderstandings and limitations.
God has many incredible attributes, but only God’s omnipotence as “Almighty” is named in the Creed. God Almighty’s power is universal. God rules everything and can do everything. As master of the universe and the Lord of history his will is limitless. “Father almighty” states God’s infinite power as it admits a profound fatherly love for us—with all the tender affection and care a Father bestows upon his children, and so much more. Consider CCC 270:
God is the Father Almighty, whose fatherhood and power shed light on one another: God reveals his fatherly omnipotence by the way he takes care of our needs; by the filial adoption that he gives us (“I will be a father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty”. See 2 Cor 6:18; cf. Mt 6:32.): finally by his infinite mercy, for he displays his power at its height by freely forgiving sins.
Just as the Apostles and the early Christians marveled at the resurrected and Risen Lord Jesus, so too, we must stand amazed and awed at the Father’s “almighty-ness”: for nothing is impossible for God… even what seem above and beyond the laws of nature. If we can aspire to acknowledge God’s almighty power with our minds, and affirm the “Father almighty” in our Creed, “we will easily and without hesitation admit everything” that follows in the Creed (CCC 274).
God as our Father almighty is bedrock to the Creed and all the incredible truths that follow it… such as the Incarnation, and the saving work of the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus, and the coming of the Holy Spirit who brings grace that empowers the Church on earth, so that believers may one day rise again, transformed with glorified bodies, and take a seat beside the communion of saints in heaven!
In short, if God is something less than our Father, and something less than almighty and omnipotent, then the rest of the Creed, and our beliefs, fall apart. For me, this calls me higher. Whether I’m standing at Mass, or at my kitchen sink, standing on our Profession of Faith is key to my faith and life.
What are your thoughts? What else can we learn from “the Father Almighty”?
Pat Gohn is a Catholic columnist, author, speaker, and hosts the “Among Women” podcast. With a Masters in theology and a communications background, her passion for faith formation embraces media for evangelization and catechesis. Her book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood will be released in 2013. Find out more at PatGohn.com where you can find her blog, The Back Porch.
Read all the entries in the Blog Series: Credo: Professing the Creed for the Year of Faith.