Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our continuing catechesis on the “Our Father”, we now consider the first step of Christian prayer, which is to enter into the mystery of God’s paternity. To understand how God is Father we naturally think of our own parents; yet this image needs to be purified, for none of our parents is perfect, and neither are we! When we speak of God as “Father”, then, we must go beyond a merely earthly image, for God’s love is that of our Father who is in heaven. Yet we only experience this total divine love – in this life – in an imperfect way, for our human love is wounded. Indeed the fragility of human love is captured well by the words of the Prophet Hosea:Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes early away” (Hos 6:4). God’s love, on the other hand, is a perfect kind of love; he loves us in a way that none on earth ever can. In the hunger for God’s love that we all feel, we are not seeking something non-existent, but instead responding to the invitation to know God as Father. So we should not be afraid, for nothing can extinguish his passionate love for us.