I was the fourth child in a family of thirteen. While I was growing up in Youngstown, Ohio, my Dad worked in a Catholic hospital just three blocks from our house. Like every dad, he would return home tired from a day’s work. Those moments before supper were special ones in our family. We always made sure the newspaper was in order so Dad could read it before we sat down for supper. While he looked over the paper, we kids would take turns sitting on his lap. When I occupied that perch I would stroke my Dad’s cheek. Despite my littleness, I felt gigantic. From where I sat, the whole world was beneath my feet—at least in my imagination. Rooted in the awareness that I was safe and loved, I felt happiness and contentment. Like the old song goes, “I was sitting on top of the world!” and loving every minute of it.
A few years ago I was experiencing a sort of soul dryness or spiritual fatigue. One day an inner light switched on as I recalled how it felt to be reigning from Daddy’s knees, carefree and secure. I realized how I had totally trusted my Dad. I was convinced of his love and care for me. That moment of grace also made me realize God’s passionate love for me. He was waiting for me to trust him and confide in him, just as I had babbled my little-girl concerns in my father’s ear.
Holy Saturday is the divine reminder that the Church gives us every year that God can be trusted, that he has a passionate and compassionate love for us. Jesus called his Father Daddy, and he trusted him completely as he approached the most frightful and sorrowful moments of his life. Now Jesus reigns in heaven at his Father’s right hand, ensuring our sometimes frightened hearts that God can be trusted.
I smile whenever I remember my Daddy’s love. Grace revisits me as I recall sitting there, hanging onto Daddy’s neck, reveling in our closeness and affection. How much more am I God’s daughter, sure of his love for me and trusting totally in his loving care for me.
Sr. Mary Peter Martin, FSP