If we truly understand Love, then we will understand God!
One day, in eternity, I shall finally look upon the face of God. Will I be able to recognize Him who first loved me? My wonderment will exceed my intellect as the past, which will now be gone, leaves only God’s love for me.
This word love has received many descriptions over the centuries, and how many people have really understood the depth of its meaning? One example of this; “I fell in love with my future spouse, got married for better or worse. Then the worse came, We no longer are one”. Another one; I love God for all the treasures I have,” but now they’re gone. “Why did God let me down?” How easy it is to blame God for disasters and therefore pass off this term love as just another blank expression.
Perhaps because intellect is most prevalent in most of today’s society humans believe that working out thoughts of analyzing abstract ideas must include love in whatever form it appears. It becomes a process that parallels calculating a problem as in turning on the computer and opening a search engine to receive the answer. Be careful when the search for love opens too many windows on the WWW. Which one will answer that query?
When we say we love God, are we aware of the connotations this statement can have on our analytical mind without reaching into the deep spiritual presence of the Holy Spirit living within us? Understand, that once we offer that statement and seek an answer do not be surprised at how succinctly the Lord opens to us a realm of spiritual essence that may overwhelm our thinking. You have heard the statement “be careful what you ask God for.” God takes us at our word and the future will astound us as we move forward with God leading our way.
Love, like Grace from God, does not filter down like pixie dust. Yet, both are gifts God freely gives to each one who desires them. Loving God is so special and we can not initiate it. As 1 John states; “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God.” (1 Jn. 4: 7). “God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love; not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.” (1 Jn. 4: 9a). “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. (1 Jn. 4: 11). “God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.” (1 JN. 4: 16 b). “ We love because he first loved us.” (1 JN 4: 19).
To understand God becomes another quest within the many mysteries confronting the finite mind. Remember the story of Augustine’s dream; “after a long time of trying to discern the Trinity he found himself walking along the seashore and catches sight of a child pouring water from the ocean into a hole in the sand. Upon seeing this he asks the child what he is doing. The response was, “emptying the ocean into the hole.” Hearing this Augustine says, “you’ll never be able to do that.” The child, an angel, says, “and you Augustine will never understand the mystery of the Trinity.”
We may never understand the many mysteries of God, but if we can understand love, in its true meaning, we may very well understand the essence of God. When we repeat the Confiteor at Mass be aware of the words where we say “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault “ that our sinfulness grieves Almighty God. We are stating in a very profound manner that we have pained God by our negligence to our soul, and the way we take Him for granted. Some may say that He is God and can’t be hurt, emotionally. Get over that thought. Yes God is Spirit, but Jesus who is True Man and True God suffered rejection before and during His Passion. Feeling the nails with each blow of the hammer, and being raised above the earth like an image of repugnance, He still asks his Father to forgive us as we don’t know what we are doing. Does he grieve over our insolence? You bet He does. He forgives and that is the deepest essence of his love.
If we are able to discern the events of the Paschal Mystery and realize this is a one-time event that spells out love in the truest sense, then maybe we may begin to understand love and that love is God!
Sing to yourself the words we sing during Holy Communion at Mass; “Love one another, for love is of God; Love one another for God is Love.”
Ralph B. Hathaway, October 2019