Abba is a very intimate word. The best translation for it is: "Daddy." The word Abba expresses trust, safety, confidence, belonging, and most of all intimacy. It does not have the connotation of authority, power, and control, that the word Father often evokes. On the contrary, Abba implies an embracing and nurturing love. This love includes and infinitely transcends all the love that comes to us from our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, spouses, and lovers. It is the gift of the Spirit.
For further reflection...
After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: "Father, the time has come... I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them." - John 17: 1, 26 (NIV)
This post was written by Henri Nouwen. You can find his website here: henrinouwen.org