Children of God – Part 4 of 4

Father Cassilly concludes his discussion on the relationship between God and His human adopted children. He writes: “Our relation to God is far more intimate than that between the human father and his adopted child. For, God in becoming our Father gives us a new nature and being, by which we become new creatures, are begotten to new life, and born again of the Spirit. This new life which we receive is not, it is true, God’s substance, and not even a substance at all, and so, according to St. Augustine, we are not God’s natural children; but it is a new principle of life, superadded to the substance of our soul, making us resemble Him and partake of His nature. For sonship, says Cardinal Mazzella, two things are required, to have a common nature with another, and to receive it from him. And this is amply verified in the infusion of grace, which is a physical and supernatural participation of the Divine nature, communicated to us by God.”

“While human adoption, then, gives rise to no real relation of sonship, since it makes no intrinsic change in the child, and is founded only on convention, the Divine adoption changes us intrinsically; and hence our new relation with God, being founded on this real and intrinsic change or justification, brings us much closer to God than would any mere legal adoption. God, then, is our Father, not merely figuratively, but in a certain true sense, and we are His children with the right to call Him ‘Father.'”

“The parenthood itself of our father and mother is a gift from His hand, so that it might be said that we, their children, are pledges of His love, loaned to them for a time until He takes them and us to Himself. Earthly parentage is but a shadow of God’s eternal paternity. . . . God’s fatherhood has only its beginning in this life; in the next, we shall continue to be His dependent children, when our resemblance to Him shall be perfected and appear in all its splendor and glory.”

“Children, whether natural or adopted, are heirs of their parents and have a right to their share of the paternal possessions. We too shall have the inheritance of eternal glory, nor need we wait, as earthly children do for the death of their father, before succeeding to it. We shall enter into our inheritance on the coming of our Father, at the dissolution of the body, provided we be worthy.”

“See, then, the wealth of charity our Father hath bestowed upon us in making us His children, conformable to the image of His Son, Who is the firstborn amongst many brothers. And He, our Brother, has gone to prepare for us a mansion in His Father’s house, and when our place is ready, He will come again and take us that where He is we also may be.”

Quotations from Francis Cassilly, A Story of Love, 2d ed. (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1917).

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