What is Love?

It was not because you are the largest of nations that the Lord set His heart on you and chose you…It was because the Lord loved you and because of His fidelity. (Deuteronomy 7:7-8)

God does not love us because we are great. God does not love us because we are successful. He does not love us because we are clever, or nice, or athletic, or talented, or generous, or hard-working. We can lay no claim to His love; we do not deserve it; we have not earned it.

But if God does not love us because we deserve it, if He does not love us because we are so wonderful, then why does He love us?

We know, of course, that He does love us. All it takes is looking at a crucifix for one moment to remember that He loves us, and how He loves us.

Why? Why did He become man and die on the Cross for us? Why did He allow His heart to be pierced by the soldier’s lance, so that every last drop of His Precious Blood flowed out?

God loves us because God is love (I John 4:16). His love is the origin of all things.

But when we say, ‘God is love,’ let’s think carefully about precisely what we are saying. It is not that we are born knowing what true love is, and then we see Jesus and expertly identify a good example of true love. It is not like we are the teacher, and He is the student, and we give Him the grade of A+ for loving us.

No—it’s the other way around. We have no idea what true love is until we fix our eyes on Jesus Christ. We can say that God is love because God has taught us what love is.

And He does more than teach us. He also gives us the grace and strength to love like Him, to return love for love. He has loved us first. Let’s love Him back with all we have.

2 thoughts on “What is Love?

  1. Fr. Mark,

    For humans:

    LIKE = BECAUSE
    LOVE = IN SPITE OF

    For God:

    LOVE = LOVE (or, if you prefer, “What part of love Me, love one another, don’t you understand?”).

    Human love defies Greek logic; Jesus Christ defies Greek logic (just ask Paul, “and him crucified”); God is, well, just God! [pun intended]

    So, what’s a poor human to do? Just, go with it! Most of us have been blessed by the love of another. Many of us awake too late (say, after the death of a parent, in the sudden realization of what was there because of its absence), so LOVE NOW, in the moment, ALL those whom GOD has given you this DAY. Start close by; and extend it to the World and beyond.

    Five Finger Prayer

    1.
    Your thumb
    is nearest you. So begin your prayers by
    praying for those closest to you. They are
    the easiest to remember. To pray for our
    loved ones is, as C. S. Lewis once said, a
    ‘sweet duty.’

    2.
    The next finger
    is the pointing finger. Pray for those who
    teach, instruct and heal. This includes
    teachers, doctors, and ministers. They
    need support and wisdom in pointing others in
    the right direction. Keep them in your prayers.

    3. The next finger
    is the tallest finger. It reminds us of
    our leaders. Pray for the president,
    leaders in business and industry, and
    administrators.. These people shape our
    nation and guide public opinion. They need
    God’s guidance.

    4. The fourth finger
    is our ring finger. Surprising to many is
    the fact that this is our weakest finger, as any
    piano teacher will testify. It should
    remind us to pray for those who are weak, in
    trouble or in pain. They need your prayers
    day and night. You cannot pray too much
    for them.

    5.. And lastly comes our little finger –
    the smallest finger of all which is where we
    should place ourselves in relation to God and
    others. As the Bible says, ‘The least
    shall be the greatest among you.’ Your
    pinkie should remind you to pray for
    yourself. By the time you have prayed for
    the other four groups, your own needs will be
    put into proper perspective and you will be able
    to pray for yourself more effectively.

    Joe’s watchword for joe: KISS! [keep it simple, sinner]

    LIH,

    joe

  2. I love the picture of the Sacred Heart. It reminds me of the one that hangs in my parents’ dining room. It was painted by a family member in the late 1800’s who was a Nun in Ireland. Around the picture she painted the words — “Cease the Heart of Jesus is With You”. This gives me so much comfort everyday when taking care of my aging father becomes so hard. Hope you had a great birthday and are getting use to the grind of driving up and down the road to tend to your parishioners. Sounds like you are also learning a lot of the history of the area.

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