A word from the Aramaic language meaning “Father.” Abba was used by Jesus when, in great agony, he prayed in the garden that his hour of suffering might pass from him (Mk 14:36). The use of this word originally spoken only within the family as a term of great respect, love, and intimacy puts Christ’s status as Son of God on an almost familiar basis and expresses his confidence in his almighty Father.
In Galatians 4:6 and Romans 8:15, Paul records that the early Christian community used “Abba, Father” as a cry spoken by those who have been spiritually adopted as sons of God. Because those who are baptized also are sons and daughters who have received the Spirit of God’s Son, they also are privileged to say Abba and model their own prayer life after that of Jesus’. They too can pray to the Father in this most intimate way, asking for help and the ability to discern the Father’s will.