Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How Much Does God Love You?

A few weeks ago on the social network Facebook, there was a discussion centering on the reverence shown (or sometimes not shown) at the reception of Eucharist.  Some were saying that there was an increase of an approach to Eucharist that did not seem reverent while others stated that they (mostly ministers of Communion) had only seen a few instances of a lack of reverence.  One of those commenting asked how would people react if Jesus was to appear to them in person.  Would they go up and pat him on the back and shake hands and say "How are you doin'"?  He obviously felt this was not the way one should reverently act if Jesus was to appear in person.
I commented that I felt that if Jesus were to appear to me, he would embrace me - not because I am anyone special - but because he loves me.  The person who asked the question fired back with a comment that I should "get over myself" and this would not be how it would play out should such an appearance occur.  Others liked my comment.
Obviously if Jesus were to appear in person to me I would certainly be awestruck.  But I stand by my comment about Jesus embracing me because that is the way our God is with us; our God loves us with an unconditional, boundless love no matter who we are or what we have done in our life.
I believe too often we forget how much our God loves us.  We often are feeling sorry for ourselves or feel that we do not have much worth.  We may have what is termed "low self-esteem."  But God has created us to be loved not only by him but by others.  All we need to do is to accept God's love and be grateful for it.  We might call sin when we fail to accept that love and do something that would stand in the way of our relationship with God.  But God never gives up on us - no matter what.
When we feel downhearted or do not see ourselves as worthy, we should remember again the words of Psalm 139:
You formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother's womb.
I praise you, so wonderfully you made me;
wonderful are your works.
Yes, we are wonderfully made by a gracious and loving God.  May we always be conscious of that fact and readily accept that generous and unconditional love.
Sometimes we may wonder if God really loves us when all sorts of things befall us: sickness, loss of employment; loss of a loved one, etc.  Yet God's love never ceases; God does not promise that our lives will be totally free from distress; even he (as a man in Jesus Christ) experienced all those things that humans experience.  God does not will that bad things happen to us but he leaves his creatures free and this often means that such freedom may be abused and may end up hurting others.  When we feel let down by God, it may be well to read the words of the great doctor of the Church - St. Francis de Sales- who wrote:
Do not look forward in dear to the changes of life;
rather look to them with full hope as they arise.
God, whose very own you are,
will deliver you out of them.
He has kept you hitherto,
and he will lead you safely through all things;
and when you cannot stand it,
God will bury you in his arms.
Do not fear what will happen tomorrow;
the same everlasting Father who cares for you today
will take care of you then and everyday.
He will either shield you from suffering,
or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace,
and put aside all anxious thoughts and imagination.
May God's love be with you always and bring you to peace.



  1. Neil! Thank you so much for this. I avoided most of those posts and threads a few weeks ago, the whole thing made me very angry, for numerous reasons. And my anger does nothing to build up the Body of Christ, so I figured I would be best to avoid it.

    Your words here bring joy to my heart. You are living the Kingdom, in humility, hope, and the rich expectation of Christ.

    For what it is worth, I always (using the Ignatian style of prayer) insert myself in the story of either the Woman at the Well, or the Prodigal Son. In both of these stories, not to mention countless others, Jesus is illustrating how God reaches to us. I always imagine myself prostrate at His feet... and Jesus reaches down to lift me up.

    I am so grateful for your words today. And always! Thank you!

  2. Why would someone be angry or offended, because you feel Jesus would embrace you? It makes me wonder (as so many other things do these days) just how far we've wandered from love...when the idea of Jesus who is the epitemy of love, taking the time to embrace one of us is something that makes others upset, that shows we've wandered pretty far.

  3. I am sad that some still prefer to keep God at a distance. Far from diminishing God when we speak of his intimacy with us, it enhances his glory. That the Almighty can stoop down to be part of my life in all its aspects is truly awesome. Hildegard of Bingen said "God hugs you. You are encircled by the arms of the mystery of God". This says it all.