|Posted by [email protected] on January 27, 2015 at 8:15 PM||comments (0)|
For the longest time in my faith journey, I hardly touched a Bible. I heard it proclaimed at Mass and
I knew all the stories from religion class, but I only used it for the good ‘ole “close your eyes and flip
to a random page to see a message from God” technique. Needless to say that was rarely effective
in helping me deepen my personal relationship with God.
I thought the Inspired Word of God was boring. And Jesus? He seemed distant. He spoke in too
many metaphors. He didn’t say the words I wanted to hear, or at least not the way I wanted to hear
them. He wasn’t lovey-dovey. After all, He didn’t even hug anyone!
When I began to tackle the notion of Jesus’ love for us, the Bible was the last place I thought to look.
BIBLE: 1, ME: 0
“Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus even say, ‘I love you’,” I once thought.
Boy, was I wrong. According to the Bible, Jesus doesn’t just love you. He’s crazy about you:
He knows us (John 10:27-28).
He intimately created us, like a potter sculpting clay (Isaiah 64:7).
We’re His “little ones,” and He doesn’t want to see us sin or stray (Matthew 18:6-14).
He is with us always, until the end of time (Matthew 28:20).
We are His children (John 13:33).
He loves and reveals Himself to us (John 14:21).
He loves us like God the Father loves Him. AKA, a lot (John 15:9).
He loves us so much that He endured the epitome of pain and suffering so we wouldn’t have
to (John 15:13).
His love is so strong that absolutely nothing can separate us from it. Nothing (Romans 9:5).
So, yeah, you could say God loves us…
BUT HOW DO WE KNOW?
I don’t know about you, but even after seeing Jesus Himself say quite clearly that He loves me,
I was still looking for more.
I am the center of God’s world?? He is thinking about me all the time?? No way. How could God
love me that much? How could He devote that much attention to me?… Individually? Didn’t He
have other things to worry about?
I think the root of this problem was that I had given in to the idea of artificial love. Surely, you’ve seen it.
Nowadays, artificial love fuels our relationships. We’re giving up on waiting for the real deal. We’re
willing to accept anyone who gives us the time of day instead of waiting for the one to give us their
It fuels our desires. Now, we hunger for that celebrity to follow us, to favorite our tweet, or to even read
it. If, for just one second, they’re thinking about us, we’ll be happy. If, for just one day, they knew we existed,
our life would be complete.
We spend so much time working to gain someone’s attention for one second that of course it’s hard to buy
into the notion that we are always on God’s mind. Of course it’s hard to believe that someone would die for
us, when we see only fake and fleeting “like,” not sacrificial and lasting love.
WE ACHE FOR MORE
Our hearts are restless until they rest in God (St. Augustine). Nothing else is sufficient. That’s the reason
we all long to be wooed, to be loved, to be wanted. But nothing can satisfy this desire to be loved except
for God, who is love.
Our souls are hardwired for His love. There’s a hole in our hearts that He alone can fill. And what’s beautiful
about that sentiment is that the same can be said for Him. In fact, the feelings are more than mutual.
Jesus has a hole in His heart that you alone can fill. You, individually. No one else can fill it, and He’s not
going to rest until He’s got you.
DOES JESUS REALLY LOVE YOU?
Heck yeah He does.
Look in the mirror. He formed you in your mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5). The coolest Person in the world
doesn’t just know you exist; He willed you to exist.
Touch your hair. Every single strand, He has counted (Matthew 10:30). He doesn’t simply know you; He
knows everything about you.
Put your hand over your heart. Feel that? Each heartbeat is a reaffirmation of the fact that God has given
you life today (Job 33:4). God doesn’t just like you. He loves you, and with each heartbeat He tells you that
He’s happy you’re alive.
And finally, look at the Eucharist. That is His Body given up for you (Luke 22:19). Each time you receive Him,
you behold tangible evidence of His sacrificial and timeless love. Jesus holds nothing back to love you. He
doesn’t just give you the time of day. He gives you His whole self, and then some.
“I chose you” (John 15:16).
“I have loved you” (John 13:34).
“You are mine” (Isaiah 43:1).
Let me add one more. Although it’s not a direct quote from the Bible, I know it’s true.
“I love you.” — Jesus
God loves you, and He is dying (and did die) to prove it.
Photo by Aundre Larrow, logo added.
|Posted by [email protected] on October 14, 2014 at 9:45 AM||comments (0)|
St. Therese of Lisieux is called as ‘little flower Jesus’. She is one of my inspirational saints ever. Her simplicity and pragmatic approach to life has made me realize that, ‘what matters in life is not great deeds but great love’ (story of a soul). She lived a simple and spiritual life that is worthy of God’s love. She showed to everyone around her that God loves us.
I would like to reflect on two important ideas that I gathered from this great little saint, namely, God’s love affair with us (human person) and spending heaven doing good on earth.
People in love would clearly know what is it to be in love with a woman or man; a person gives completely to the other without any condition. Has that been your experience? Most often we give several attributes to God, like Father, mother, creator, almighty, king of kings etc. I would like to think that God is in love with the humanity, in other words God has an affair with us. This affair is consolidated whenever we stand before our God completely naked, naked from our own faults, inhibitions, limitations, and unworthiness. We can go before our God like a child going towards their mother; completely dependent. St. Therese saw the seasons as reflecting the seasons of God’s love affair with us. She loved flowers and saw herself as the little flower of Jesus. She was one little flower in the garden of Jesus who gave glory for its creation and beauty. As Therese says, seasons show that God is in love with us. God expects us to respond to this love. God will wait for our response when we delay. God’s love affair comes to a completion only when we respond to his love, if not, it still remains incomplete.
Most often we tend to think that heaven is somewhere out there and it is a reward for our good deeds on earth. We think it’s a place where we are destined to go after life according to our deeds. I would like to think that heaven is here and now. It is a situation or an atmosphere where God’s values prevail. It’s an ambience of Kingdom values. Therefore it is not so much a place rather it is a situation or ambience. Most often values of the kingdom and values of the world don’t match; they conflict with each other, hence we have evil in the world. Evil values dominate as opposed to the kingdom values. As St. Therese says, we have spend heaven here on earth, in other words don’t wait until one dies rather live heaven now. She spent her heaven doing good on earth. It is a tedious task to fight against the evil (worldly) values in our current times. At times it seems that invariably evil values dominate. A Challenge would be to stand against the temptation of being carried away by the mass that adheres to the values of the earth. We have swim against the current to proclaim the kingdom values. Therefore, we will have our heaven now on earth where peace and harmony will flow like a river.