“Who is your father?”
The words are spoken by the silver-tongued devil as Jesus agonizes in the garden. I am always struck by the way Satan is portrayed in “The Passion of the Christ” and how perfectly it is done. Part of me thinks he should be far more evil in appearance and words but I think they actually did it correctly. Satan doesn’t tempt us with murder at first. Rather he sows seeds of doubt and distrust. Jesus agonizes in the garden and Satan is attacking His very identity. To attack His identity means to attack the very relationship that defines Him, that defines us.
Who is your father? The question is laden with subtle hints that a loving father would not subject His only beloved son to such torture. Such suffering is unnecessary, it is unkind, it is not good. Satan is trying to shake the belief that God is all-good and all-loving. Once the question of doubt is placed about the Father, then he attempts to destroy the very image of the Son.
“Who are you?” Such simple questions. With such simple answers. Yet in the midst of despair and confusion, the answers can be hard to come by. I am….who am I? Once the relationship with the Father is cut, then it is much easier to destroy who you are. Think of the Lion King. Mufasa appears to Simba and says that because Simba has forgotten who he is, he has also forgotten who his father is. We also can fall into the same trap. We forget ourselves because we have forgotten who the Father is.
Satan plants these little lies, these questions, these doubts and then lets them wreck havoc in our lives. Who are we? “You are my son (daughter), the one true king…and you must take your place in the circle of life.” Theological translation? You are the son/daughter of the one true King and you must take your place in the Body of Christ.
You are because He is.
Never think that He is because you are. You are the dependent being. You are the one who relies on Him for everything. Do not let Satan shake your foundation. One of the best things I have learned (and strive to put into practice) is simply asking, “Would Jesus speak to me in this way?” Jesus challenges us and pushes us forward but He doesn’t do this by tearing us apart.
St. Francis of Assisi prayed, “Who are you, Lord my God, and who am I?” This is very different from how Satan approaches the issue. He attacks when we are weak and questioning. He uses the questions to create distance, not to draw us nearer to Our Lord. Satan’s questions cause unrest, lack of peace, and sow doubt. The prayer of St. Francis encourages depth and seeking the Truth about God.
Who is your father? Who are you? You are the Beloved of the Father. The Father is transcendent and immanent. He is Mercy, Love, Goodness. He is the great I AM. He doesn’t need you but He loves you radically. He is the origin of all things, the Creator of the Universe. He is wonder, awe, and beauty that we find all around us. He is. And because He is, we are.
“here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)”
–excerpt from ee cummings [i carry your heart with me (i carry it in]