Just a few months ago my favorite word was “cherished.” Today it’s “welcome.” Please feel welcome to my blog. I pretty much let it all hang out.

God seems to be about relationships, as evidenced by that “love one another” thing. The Trinity might be considered the “family” of God, with an interrelationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Throughout the Class Mammalia (which includes us) we note that it requires a relationship between a male and a female for a species to continue. Once a female becomes pregnant, it seems that she is hard-wired to care for her young. In more primitive times, the young would have surely died were she not equipped with mammary glands to produce milk. The power of the mothering instinct was brought home to me when our Cocker Spaniel, Josephine, was locked out of the house one day, leaving her puppies inside. Josephine really made a wreck of the wooden screen door, apparently clawing at it or biting at it, in her frantic effort to reach her puppies. I did not replace or repair the door, keeping it as evidence of the strength of mothering instinct. (I did paint over the bare wood resulting from her efforts, but what a testimony!)

Nature and nature’s God have arranged it that we come into the world as part of a family unit. We belong somewhere, with someone. God could have dropped us, full-grown, into the midst of strangers. But, no, children arrive so cute and helpless and needy that caring arises in us and the next thing you know we have the basic unit of society, the family. We begin life being connected and grow up amid people we have always known. Home, it has been said, is the place where when you go there, they have to let you in. There is nothing, nothing, nothing as good for a child’s soul as knowing he is accepted and welcomed. All the research shows that children do best when they are raised with a mother and a father in the basic natural unit, the family.

Things happen. Sometimes things do not go according to “the plan.”  Some children are not raised with the ideal mother, father, and stable home.   Still we never outgrow the need to be welcomed somewhere, by someone. “Please love me” is the cry of every heart.  It seems to me that until we find ourselves welcomed, until we find the acceptance, the approval, the welcome that we all need, until we find a “home,” a place, a purpose, and a plan for ourselves, that we are not really free to welcome others.  We are too busy looking inward,  trying to fill the void in ourselves, to spend much time looking outward.

There comes a day when we realize that families may fail, people will disappoint, but we still have a place, a plan and a purpose.  The place is where we are at the moment, the plan is to be loving to the person at hand, and the purpose is to seek the will of God.  We then find that we do have a family.  “Our Father” is our father.  Jesus is our brother.  Jesus’ mother is our mother.  We look about and find members of  our family everywhere.  They all follow (pretty much) the same moral code.  Brotherhood abounds.

We realize we are just passing through, and our final home awaits us.  We look about and recognize fellow travelers.  They, like us, are still “works in progress,” but they are family and somewhat worthy of trust.  We are finally welcomed and are welcoming.

Years ago when I was afflicted by agoraphobia I knew that something had gone dreadfully wrong; the feeling that I might literally “disintegrate” was uncomfortable (to put it mildly) and I knew I needed help of some sort. The thought that made it easier for me to go to a doctor was the knowledge that he was a Christian and he “had to” love me, even if I was crazy! To this day, that doctor remains for me the paradigm of Christian love. (Click “about me” at the top of the right hand column for that story.)

Hi, welcome to my blog.  And welcome to the family of God.

Pope Francis talks about the church as the Family of God on the feast of Corpus Christi, 2013.