Before I get into this week’s reflection, I want to provide a little background. As a catechetical writer, I always have ideas floating around in my head, and I do a lot of reading and research to prepare for whatever it is I write about for the week. For the most part, I am led by the Holy Spirit and do my best to communicate the truths of the Faith in a way that would be pleasing to God.
However, as I was preparing for this particular reflection, I was having a lot of difficulty. As always, I had a lot of ideas, but nothing was coming together or settling for me. As is typical for me, I took my Bible and my Catechism into the Adoration Chapel to meditate on certain passages, but still, nothing was coming. So, I closed my books, looked upon our Lord in the Blessed Eucharist, took a deep breath, and asked Him what He wanted me to say. It didn’t take long for the answer to come and I heard Him very clearly say, “Just tell them how much I love them.” How could I say anything but “yes” to the simplest of requests?
Often, when we think of God and His love for us, we think of humanity and the whole of creation, how He loves all of us and everything He’s made. We know that Jesus is the “Savior of the world” and came to free humanity from the slavery of sin and open the gates of Heaven for all of us. This is all very true and very good. However, there can be a temptation for us to feel caught up in this sense of the whole, while feeling distant or removed from it on a personal level, not in the sense that we are not a part of the whole, but perhaps in a sense that there is nothing particularly special about us on an individual basis. So, with that in mind, as you read through the rest of this, forget about everybody and everything else and understand that I am speaking directly to you as if I were sitting across the table from you over a cup of coffee.
God the Father loves you as a perfect father and He has since the beginning of time – not from the time you were conceived, but from the beginning of time. God said to the prophet Jeremiah (as a proxy for you), “Before I knit you in the womb, I knew you” (Jer 1:5). He knew you in the most intimate of ways, inside and out, all before you were even a thought in your earthly mother and father’s own minds. Imagine being known so intimately – with all of your strengths and weaknesses – and still loved as deeply as a person can be loved. That is how much He loves you.
Isaiah 49:16 says, “Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” Did you know that the only reason you exist is because God is thinking of you? If He ever ceased to think about you for even one second, you would cease to exist. But, He thinks the world is better with you in it. Your very own name is written on God’s own hands and He holds you in existence out of love for you by thinking about you for every second of every day into eternity, as your soul continues to exist even after your earthly life is over. Think about how powerful that is! You exist because God loves you so much, He wants you to exist and will never waiver in that love for you forever and ever.
God the Son, Jesus Christ, loves you deeply and intimately. The Word of God humbled Himself and was born in the flesh as a vulnerable and dependent infant for you. Imagine holding that infant close to you and gazing upon Him as He gazes back up at you with tender love. He grew up and began His teaching ministry for you, teaching you all that you need to know so that you can be with Him in heaven forever because that’s where He wants you to be, close to Him. After He was sentenced to death by Pilate, as He was being scourged and spilling His blood, He was thinking of you because He wanted to bear the brunt of your suffering out deep love for you. Yes, you suffer, but how much more would you suffer if He did not take so much of it onto Himself? He carried His cross for you so that you might pick up your cross and join it to His in order to lighten your load.
At His crucifixion, He hung on His cross as He was dying and thought specifically of you. He thought of every single one of your sins, as ugly and painful as they may be, yet thought of you with only love and how He wanted nothing more than to take those sins away from you with the deepest of love and mercy. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). This may be the hardest part of God’s love for most of us to accept. You know the darkest parts of yourself, and probably hide them from most people. We tend to share the best parts of ourselves and hide those things we consider to be shameful or weak. We all have weaknesses, fears, vulnerabilities, traumas, and struggles. As He hung on the cross, Jesus could see all of it in you and all it did was cause Him to love you that much more in His infinite mercy and compassion for everything you are enduring. Likewise, He sees all of your joys, triumphs, virtues, and gifts and rejoices in them along with you. When Jesus says He lays down His life for His friends, He is the kind of friend that you have in no other human being. He loves you more than all of your other friends combined. As you gaze at the crucifix, know with complete certainty that He is lovingly gazing directly upon you.
God, the Holy Spirit loves you as your teacher and leader and the person who wants nothing but the absolute best for you. The Holy Spirit dwells in the deepest part of your heart. Wherever any part of your heart is broken, the Holy Spirit is within it, fusing it back together, stronger than before with His loving and healing balm. When you feel Him stirring inside of you, inspiring you, and guiding you, it is His Spirit within you. He pulls at those heart strings to lead you in His will for your life, providing you with guidance and answers to help you do the things that will lead you to closer relationship with Him. He desires you with His whole being and will never stop trying to get your attention out love for you. He wants to lead you to infinite peace so that your heart will never be troubled again. When you listen to Him and follow His lead out of love, it brings Him so much joy because He loves you.
I have a couple of ideas for some challenges for you this week, depending on how you are moved. The first is to re-read this reflection in the Adoration Chapel as you gaze upon Him. If there is anybody else in the chapel, try to push them out of your mind and understand the fact that God is gazing right back at you, in your heart and in your soul with nothing but love. Another idea, if you are so inclined, is to write a love letter to yourself from each of the three persons of the Blessed Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. How would each one of them tell you they love you? What would you want to hear from them that would make you feel how deep their love is for you? And lastly, if you do not want to write it out, have a conversation with each person in the Trinity in your mind and your heart. What are they saying to you and what are you saying back? Never forget the intense love God has for you and if you ever start to forget, run back to Him asking Him to remind you, because He will, without hesitation.