REFLECTION: Fathoming God’s love PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 21 August 2014 14:37

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

 

WE need to know the real essence of love, its true and ultimate dimensions, its theoretical and practical implications, its source, power and goal, its pattern, ways and manifestations.

Though it is an endless exercise, it would always be worthwhile since from that effort is derived everything that is true, good and proper to us. Especially if done in earnest, such effort generates vitality, health, meaning and joy in our life.

As much as possible we should try to stay clear from an understanding of love that is based only on feelings, instincts, sensual urges, or on some social trends and fads that often trivialize and distort love even as they make a lot of hype about it.

Not even should we rely merely on some ideological, philosophical or cultural and historical factors. They may give

something valuable, but if they are not grounded on the real source and power, which is no other than God, they can mislead us.

God, for sure, is everything that we need to go to not only know but also live the true love meant for all of us. He is the creator, the source of all things good and true, the very foundation of reality.

He is the very author of love who loved us first and continues to love us no matter what. We can only love properly if our loving is based on his, if it is inspired and energized by his. No true love exists, much less, prospers, if it does not begin and end with God.

This love, in its fullness, has been revealed to us by Christ. More than that, this love, again, in its fullness, is given to us by Christ through the many instrumentalities he himself has left us—his living word, his sacraments, the Church, etc.

That is why he makes himself the standard of our loving.

“A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another, as I have loved you…” (Jn 13,34) We should let these words to sink deep in our mind and heart, making them the soul of our life.

And how does Christ love us? Aside from the basic goodness of creating us and endowing us with such great gifts that we have become the masterpiece of God’s creation, he has forgiven us our sins by assuming all our sinfulness and dying to it to rise from it.

In this way, he gives us the means to liberate ourselves from our sinfulness. It is for us to die with Christ so that we too will rise with him. Our death should not just be a matter of the collapse of our vital organs. It has to be a death with Christ. We have to be more attentive to the religious dimension of death than to its physical aspects.

And that means we have to love God and everyone else all the way, in spite of all. If we look at Christ closely, we know that he was very compassionate with everyone. He gave special attention to the sick, the deaf, dumb and lame. This is an attitude that we should continually develop in ourselves.

And more than those who were sick, Christ gave utmost attention to sinners. He knew these were the ones who needed the most of him, who needed what truly mattered in our life, our own eternal salvation and joy with God in heaven.

If we are interested in fathoming the love of God for us, we have to examine ourselves and see the kind of attitude we have toward those who may have offended us. This is where we can see whether we have true love for God and for others.

Does our reaction toward those who may have offended us one way or another reflect Christ’s reaction toward sinners? Are we quick to forgive and forget? Are we even willing to bear the consequences of their misdeeds, yes, even all the way to the cross?

This is the litmus test of our love. We have to be wary of our tendency to pursue the cause of justice outside of the context of charity. To be sure, justice without charity is not true justice. At best, it may appear like justice, but it would end up only as a shell without the substance.

We need to remember that we have to distinguish between the sin and the sinner. The sin, we have to hate, but the sinner, we are obliged to love and to do everything to convert him into a saint.