We all know that God is called Father. It will serve us well to look at a few of the passages from the Holy Scriptures where God is called Father.
In the Old Testament the psalmist says, "As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear him." In another place he says again, "Father of orphans and judge of widows."
In the New Testament St. Paul says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." When His Disciples asked Christ Himself to teach them how to pray, He taught them "Our Father Who art in Heaven . . . ," and in this way He calls God Father. Again we find in the Gospel of St. John, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have ever-lasting life."
Although there exist many other passages in the Holy Scriptures that call God the Father, those that we have referred to are sufficient to convince every well-intentioned listener.
However, at this point we must clarify something. God is called Father in two senses: the moral and the doctrinal sense. God is the Father of all of us in a moral sense and meaning. This is how He is presented in the Lord's Prayer, in the parable of the Prodigal Son, and in many other places in the Old and in the New Testaments. He is a Father with infinite love for His creatures. A Father Who sends the sun and the rain and all His other gifts to all people. A Father Who always receives with open arms all sinners; those who have taken the wrong path; even criminals, as long as they repent. He is our Father, our Creator, and our Protector. He accepts us when we repent and reinstates us in our former glory. He is our Father because He intends us to be heirs of His Own Kingdom. For all of these reasons, He is our Father. But all of us, and the angels, too, are children of God "by grace."
This does not apply to Christ. He is not the Son of God "by grace;" He is the Son of God "by nature." He is the Son of God by His nature and substance before all ages. In many instances when Christ speaks about God as Father, He makes this same distinction. In order to understand this beyond any doubt, we have only to remember what He said to Mary Magdalene after His Resurrection: "Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father, but go to my brethren and say unto them, `I ascend unto my Father and your Father and to my God and to your God.'" He did not say, I am ascending to our Father; He made the distinction. In order to avoid the error of thinking that this distinction is not important, let us point out that it was because Jesus called God His Father in a distinct and separate sense that the Pharisees sought to condemn Him. John the Evangelist says it clearly. He says that they sought to kill Him because He called God His own Father and made Himself equal to God. The Pharisees understood correctly what He was saying, but they did not want to believe it. They forgot and did not want to hear about the voice of God that was heard at Epiphany and at the Transfiguration, when, in a sense entirely distinguishing Him from others, God called Jesus Christ "His beloved Son in Whom He was well pleased."
Unfortunately, there are people today who speak very irresponsibly, having personal benefit for themselves as their standard and aim. At least they think so; actually they are working for the benefit of Satan. They are people--yes, they are Protestant Christians--who assert that they can call God Mother. This has grown out of the feminist movement, and it has no bearing upon theology or religion. We cannot find God called "Mother" anywhere in Holy Scripture or in the writings of the Holy Fathers. Those who persist in this are deceived by Satan, and they are deceiving themselves and others. They would do well to study Holy Scripture and examine their deception. By remaining deceived, they act diabolically and their reward will be eternal damnation.
Our Heavenly Father, You know that we are Your children by Grace. We do not claim to be Your children by our nature. Only our Saviour, Christ, is Your Son by nature. We fervently beseech You: accept us as the Prodigal, as the Thief, as the Tax- Collector. As Peter, who denied You. Open the eyes of our mind and soul to acknowledge You as our Father by Grace and the Father of Christ by nature. Give us Your Grace abundantly, not only to acknowledge You as our Father by Grace, but also to act as Your true children and as brothers among ourselves. You have destined us to be heirs of Your Kingdom; help us to inherit it. We wish it. We seek it. We desire it. If our path is not straight, it is because Satan deceives us. Our evil self is drawn toward sin, but, Father, we do not want this to happen. We want Salvation. Save us, through Jesus Christ, our Deliverer and Saviour.