The First Icon of God the Father in the Catholic Church: Part 1
The first icon of God the Father in the Roman Catholic Church (The Work of God, 2002) originated in response to the revelations that the Father had given to Mother Eugenia Ravasio (1932/1989), during the early twentieth century. In these revelations, which included corporeal theophanic visions (Augustine of Hippo, 401-415; Aumann, 1989; Burtchaell, 2003; Tanquerey, 1947/2001), God the Father requested that He be depicted as He had manifested Himself – in terms of His energeia (Gregory Palamas, 69, P.G. CL; P.G. CL; Lossky, 1944/1997) – in said visions, so that He could become, “known, loved and honoured with a special devotion” (Ravasio, 1932/1989) by all mankind. Written by Lia Gaidlolo (The Work of God, 2002), the said icon was enshrined in 2004, with the blessing of John Paul II (Armata Bianca of Our Lady, 2007-2008; D’Ascanio, 2002), in the ‘Jubilee’ Pro-Cathedral of God the Merciful Father in Zaporozhye, Ukraine (ibid.; Padewski, 1998; Roman Catholic Church of God the Merciful Father). The revelations of God the Father to Mother Eugenia (1932/1989) were considered valid by Alexandre Caillot, Bishop of Grenoble, and given an imprimatur in 1989 by Peter van Lierde, Vicar General at the Vatican.
Using what can be considered as the very first, vicariously revealed (Florensky, 1996) icon of the Father in the Catholic Church (The Work of God, 2002), God the Father made explicitly known both His desires and intentions in relation to mankind, in His revelations to Mother Eugenia (Ravasio, 1932/1989). Specifically, He said: “I am coming to banish the excessive fear that My creatures have of Me, and to show them that My joy lies in being known and loved by My children . . . I am coming to bring hope to men and nations . . . to make Myself known just as I am, so that men’s trust may increase, together with their trust for Me, their Father. I have but one concern: to watch over all men and love them as My children” (ibid., p. 7). The Father added, “I wish men to know as soon as possible that I love them and that I feel the greatest happiness in being with them and talking with them; like a father with his children. I am the Eternal One and, when I was alone, I had already thought of using all My power to create beings in My image . . . In the Old Testament, I created and chose prophets to live among men. To them I told My desires, My sorrows and My joys, so that they could communicate them to everyone . . . I have always wished to remain in this world among men. So, during the Flood, I was close to Noah: the only just man then. In the other calamities, also, I always found a just man with whom I could stay and, through him, I lived among the men of that time, and it has always been thus . . . I continued to choose certain souls in whom I was pleased, because through them I could be happy with My creatures: men” (ibid.).
God the Father continued, “I promised the world a Messiah . . . Who ordered Him to come among men? It was I, His Father, God. Whom is He to represent on earth? His Father, God. What is He to do on the earth? He will make the Father, God, known and loved. Did He not say: ‘Do you not know that I must be about My Father’s business? I have come only to do the Will of My Father. Whatever you ask the Father in My Name, He will give you. You will pray to Him like this: “Our Father, Who art in heaven . . . ” Whoever sees Me, sees the Father. I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. No one comes to the Father except through Me. Whoever is with Me is also with My Father.’ Realize then, O men, that for all eternity I have had but one desire: to make Myself known to men and be loved by them. I wish to stay forever with them” (Ravasio, 1932/1989, p. 7). The Almighty clarified, “When I realized that neither the patriarchs nor the prophets had been able to make Me known and loved by men, I decided to come Myself . . . in the Second Person of My divinity. Would men know Me? Would they listen to Me? . . . I Myself answered these two questions: ‘They will ignore My presence, even though they will be near Me. In My Son they will treat Me cruelly, notwithstanding all the good He will do for them. In My Son they will speak ill of Me, they will crucify Me to bring about My death. Shall I stop because of this? No, My love for My children, men, is too great’ . . . If one of My creatures had been enough to atone for the sins of other men, through a life and death similar to those of My Son, I would have hesitated. Why? Because I would have betrayed My love by making a beloved creature suffer, rather than suffering Myself, in My Son” (ibid., p. 8).
God the Father then said, “Now this love has been forgotten, I want to remind you of it, so that you can learn to know Me as I am. So that you will not be, like slaves, afraid of a Father Who loves you so much . . . I am your Father! . . . I am the best of Fathers! . . . I know My creatures’ weaknesses! Come to Me, come with confidence and love! I will forgive you after you have repented. Even if your sins were as repulsive as mud, your confidence and your love will make Me forget them, so you will not be judged! . . . You must come to Me, I am so close to you! You must love Me and honour Me, so that you will not be judged. Or rather, that you will be judged with infinitely merciful love” (Ravasio, 1932/1989, p. 8). He added, “If My Heart were not like this, I would have already destroyed the world every time it committed sins! . . . No one has yet understood the infinite desire of My divine, paternal Heart to be known, loved and honoured by all men, the just and the sinful. These are the three gifts that I wish to receive in homage from men, so that I may always be merciful and good even towards the most hardened sinners . . . I have not yet received this special veneration which I have so much hoped for and which I desire so much” (ibid., pp. 8-9).
God the Father continued, “In the books of Exodus you read that God must be held in special veneration . . . I have lavished so many benefits on you, I must be honoured by you in a very special way! . . . Giving you life, I wished to create you in My Image! Your heart is therefore as sensitive as Mine, and Mine as yours! . . . I will be much more grateful to you, assuring you of eternal life, if you will do Me the small favour of honouring Me as I request” (Ravasio, 1932/1989, p. 9). He added, “I recognize that you honour Me in My Son . . . But I would like to see man honouring His Father and Creator with a special devotion . . . Oh, how I would like to let you know what an Almighty Father I am for you and would also be for those creatures, through My benefits! . . . Tell them that they have a Father who, having created them, wants to give them the treasures He possesses. Above all, tell them that I think of them, I love them and want to give them eternal happiness” (ibid.).
The Father explained, “If you had begun to honour Me with a special devotion from the times of the early Church, after twenty centuries few men would remain living in idolatry, in paganism and in so many false and evil sects . . . My hour has come! I must be known, honoured and loved by men, so that, having created them, I can be their Father . . . I am a very good Father, not a fearsome one as you believe . . . I wish to be known, loved and, above all, honoured . . . I want only one thing: to love them all, to give them My grace, to forgive them when they repent and, most of all, to judge them not with My justice but with My mercy, so that all may be saved and numbered among the elect” (Ravasio, 1932/1989, pp. 9-10). He continued, “Call Me by the name of Father, with confidence and love, and you will receive everything from this Father, with love and mercy . . . My love, as Father and Creator, makes Me feel this need to love man. I follow him everywhere, I help him in all things, I supply everything. I can see his needs, his toils, all his desires. And My greatest happiness lies in helping him and saving him. Men believe Me to be a terrifying God Who is going to cast all mankind into hell. What a great surprise it will be when, at the end of time, they see so many souls they believed lost, enjoying eternal bliss among the elect” (ibid.).
God the Father then said, “I wish all My creatures to be convinced that there is a Father Who watches over them and Who would like them to enjoy, on earth, a foretaste of eternal happiness . . . If you love Me and call Me by the sweet name of ‘Father,’ you will begin to live, here and now, in the love and the trust which will make you happy in eternity . . . Oh, how I wish to see this plan of Mine realized! . . . I would like to see great trust established between man and his Heavenly Father, a true spirit of familiarity and delicacy at the same time, so as not to take advantage of My great goodness . . . How happy and grateful I would be if I saw you coming to Me and confiding to Me your needs, like a son who has total trust in his father. How could I refuse you the smallest or biggest thing, if you asked Me? (Ravasio, 1932/1989, p. 10). He declared, “Remember, O men, that I wish to be the hope of humanity . . . It is necessary for Me to be recognized as such, so that peace, confidence and love may enter men’s hearts and put them in contact with their Father in heaven and on earth. Do not think of Me as a frightening old man whom men depict in their pictures and books! No, no, I am neither younder nor older than My Son and My Holy Spirit. Because of this, I would like everybody, from the youngest to the oldest, to call Me by the familiar name of Father and Friend. For I am always with you, I am making Myself similar to you, so as to make you similar to Me. How great would be My joy to see parents teaching their children to address Me often by the name of ‘Father,’ as indeed I am! How I would like to see infused into these young souls a trust and a filial love for Me! I have done everything for you, will you not do this for Me?” (ibid.).
God the Almighty Father persisted, “I would like to make My home in every family as in My domain, so that all can say with abolute assurance: ‘We have a Father who is infinitely good, infinitely rich and greatly merciful. He thinks about us and is close to us. He looks after us, supports us. He will give us everything we need, if we ask Him. All his riches are ours, we will have everything we need.’ I am there precisely in order that you should ask Me for what you need: ‘Ask and you shall receive.’ In My Fatherly goodness I will give you everything provided that all regard Me as a true Father, living among His Family, as I indeed do” (Ravasio, 1932/1989, p. 11). He added, “I also desire that every family prominently display the picture [that He asked Mother Eugenia to have depicted] . . . I wish every family to be able to place itself under My special protection in this way, so that they can honour Me more easily. There, everyday, the family will share with Me its needs, its work, its sorrow, its sufferings, its desires, and also its joys; because a Father must know everything that concerns His children. I do know it of course, because I am there, but I love simplicity. I know how to adapt Myself to your condition. I make Myself little with the little ones, I make Myself an adult with adults, and the same with the elderly, so that all may comprehend what I wish to tell them, for their sanctification and My glory” (ibid.).
The Heavenly Father continued, “I have laid My crown at My feet and held the world to My Heart [in the vision to Mother Eugenia]. I have left My glory in heaven and come here, becoming all things to all men, becoming poor with the poor and rich with the rich. I want to protect the young people as a tender Father. There is so much evil in the world . . . You who especially need someone to take care of you in life, so that you can avoid evil, come to Me! I am the Father who loves you more than any other creature will ever be able to do! Take refuge close, very close to Me; confide in Me your thoughts and your desires. I will love you tenderly, I will give you graces for the present and bless your future . . . Come! I see that you greatly need a sweet and infinitely good Father like Me” (Ravasio, 1932/1989, p. 11).
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