God’s Love…explained

God’s love.  Divine love.  Trinitarian love.

What is it?

My concise definition:  A relentless torrent of reckless self-giving.

Relentless:  Continuous.  Constant.  Perpetual.

Torrent:  Think “fire hose,” as in ‘trying to drink from.’  A great quantity arriving at great speed.

Reckless??  Not meaning careless, lacking caution, or irresponsible.  But illustrating the fact that it is so exclusively other-centered — so intensely focused on seeking the good of the ‘other’ — that it leaves absolutely no room for concern for oneself, nor even the slightest consideration of self.  A complete and total disregard for what might happen to me.

Self-giving:  Freely making a total gift of oneself.  Self-donation or self-bestowal, as St John Paul II would occasionally call it.

It’s the love that the Father has for His beloved Son, Jesus.
A love so tremendously awesome that its reception cannot go without a corresponding response.
It’s the love with which Jesus responds to His Father, which He returns to Him, reciprocates.
A love so authentic and real that it generates a personal expression — the Holy Spirit.

Here’s how St John Paul II described it:

“…the Father begets the Son by loving him; the Son is begotten by the Father, letting himself be loved and receiving from him the capacity to love; the Holy Spirit is love given in total gratuitousness by the Father, received with full gratitude by the Son, and returned by him to the Father.”  (General Audience, 29-July-1998)

A relentless torrent of reckless self-giving.
Its greatest manifestation is MERCY.
It’s the love that caused the Father to will the sending of His Son for us.
It’s the love that enabled the Son to desire to be sent for us.
It’s the love that’s graphically represented by the inferno of flame emanating from the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
It’s what generates, builds and sustains true communion.
It is always free, total, faithful and fruitful (thanks, St JP2 and Christopher West).

It’s the kind of love in which I must engage if I want to attain self-fulfillment:

“…man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.”  (Gaudium et Spes, n. 24)

This divine love gives me the answers to life’s basic questions:
Why am I here?
Where am I going?
How do I get there?

Divine love is my origin.
Divine love is my mission.
Divine love is my destiny.

My origin:  Divine love is always open to new life.  That’s the reason I’m here.  That’s why God created human persons.

My mission:  The greatest commandments — to love God and others, with this same love
(Jesus:  “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” – John 15:12)

My destiny:  Perfect communion with God for all eternity….the Beatific Vision.

The most accurate human representation of divine love is the physical love between wife and husband.
Divine love underlies radical acts like martyrdom.

A relentless torrent of reckless self-giving.
I need to reflect deeply on this, to contemplate this.

With this definition in mind, I need to do some serious lectio divina on these words of Jesus:

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.”  (John 15:9)

Most importantly, I need to understand and believe that this is the kind of love that God has for me, individually and personally.  I need to live my daily life certain of the ever-presence of God’s deep love for me.
In times of temptation.
In times when I (selfishly) find it difficult to love others.
Especially in times of trial and suffering.

I need to ruminate on how very much God loves me, that I may be inspired to make an appropriate response.

Thank you, most gracious and merciful Lord, for your relentless torrent of reckless self-giving love.

Sacred Heart

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Imitate the tender, personal self-giving of God

From the homily of Pope Francis at midnight Mass for Christmas 2014:

On this holy night, while we contemplate the Infant Jesus just born and placed in the manger, we are invited to reflect. How do we welcome the tenderness of God? Do I allow myself to be taken up by God, to be embraced by him, or do I prevent him from drawing close? “But I am searching for the Lord” – we could respond. Nevertheless, what is most important is not seeking him, but rather allowing him to seek me, find me and caress me with tenderness. The question put to us simply by the Infant’s presence is: do I allow God to love me?

More so, do we have the courage to welcome with tenderness the difficulties and problems of those who are near to us, or do we prefer impersonal solutions, perhaps effective but devoid of the warmth of the Gospel? How much the world needs tenderness today! The patience of God, the closeness of God, the tenderness of God.

The Christian response cannot be different from God’s response to our smallness. Life must be met with goodness, with meekness. When we realize that God is in love with our smallness, that he made himself small in order to better encounter us, we cannot help but open our hearts to him, and beseech him: “Lord, help me to be like you, give me the grace of tenderness in the most difficult circumstances of life, give me the grace of closeness in the face of every need, of meekness in every conflict”.

Francis Christmas 2014