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

Like a 2×4 to the head

Every now and then I read an example of holiness so extreme, so radical that it stops me in my tracks.  This quote did just that.  At first, I gave it a “WOW!!!”  After pondering it a minute, I was tempted to believe that the man’s behavior was too sensational to be true.  But then I remembered the power of the Holy Spirit.  Quickly I changed direction and began to question myself about my own love for the Lord.  I came to the realization that my love for God could be so much stronger.  My daily thoughts, words and deeds easily reveal how little of the heart and character of Jesus I have acquired.  I don’t yet even love my neighbor as I love myself, yet alone love others as Jesus loves me.  I surely don’t hate sin and selfishness (especially my own!) with the same intensity that Jesus does.  So I come away from reading that quote realizing how intensely I need to step up my response to the saving love of my Lord.  My Baptism into the death and resurrection of Jesus requires that I strive to become a saint, to live a life of heroic virtue.  I won’t be able to do it without a generous outpouring of grace from our Lord, to which I will need to add my cooperation, my own hard work.  Praise the Lord for His mercy!!

Lam 2-19

Holiness requires conversion

Here’s a recent talk by Fr Dave Pivonka TOR which I found very appropriate for my Lenten reflection this year:

He discusses what holiness is, and why conversion is necessary to attain it. His blend of humor with sobriety makes him easy to listen to.

For me, the section of his talk concerning the necessity of our conversion from fear to trust is priceless. My novena prayers to St Joseph over the past days have included the Litany to St Joseph. The version I used included the acclamation “Joseph, most valiant…” Other versions use the word “strong” in place of “valiant.” However, I think the term “valiant” very much expresses what Fr Dave means when he talks about our freedom from fear and our trust being noticeable to others.