Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J.
“In this is love: not that we have loved God, but he has loved us and sent his son as expiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)
God loves me. Psychologically this is the first and the most important truth for me. It is the first step on the road to salvation and the secret of great sanctity. And it is also the truth that nobody really believes! The great turning point in life comes when I realize and fully accept the fact that God loves me unconditionally with a love I cannot earn or ever be worthy of, not for my possessions or for my accomplishments, but for myself, for myself not as I could be or should be but as I really am with all of the physical warts, psychological quirks and spiritual infidelities.
God loves me. Is this really true? Well let us see if it is. There are two basic methods for discerning: deductive and inductive. Deductive (trickle down) goes from the general to the particular. Inductive (bubble up) goes from particulars to the general.
DEDUCTION: “Trickle down.” Revelation “God is love.” “Let us make man in our image” (Gen.1:26) This love of God has trickled down to me. God wills to share this love with others and so He creates the universe and everything in it. For example, when you pass the light of the sun through a glass prism it is refracted, broken up, into all of the colors of the rainbow. In a similar way, the infinite love of God passed through the prism of creation is refracted, broken up, into an infinite number of finite acts of love of God. God loved me into existence. I am an act of the love of God. God loves me.
In a nutshell: All that I am, all that I have and all that I will ever be is a spin-off from the reality that God loves me. My response is a spin-off from my realization of this reality. This is the theme of the whole of the Bible. Like a great symphony each book repeats over and over again in different variations: God loves me. If I could add one more article to the Creed it would be: I believe God loves me. If you do not believe that you do not believe any other article because every article says God loves me in a variety of ways.
INDUCTION: “Bubble up” from our own personal experience. Love is not found in words love is found in deeds. Love proves itself by giving. Gifts are the language of love; the more one loves the more one gives. Never has this language of gift-giving been spoken to me as God has spoken it to me. What am I but a conglomeration of the gifts of God? What do I have that I have not received?
Existence: I started out as zero, zip, nada. I didn’t have to be. Out of an infinite number of possible beings God chose to create me. “You have not chosen me I have chosen you.” If existence is not the greatest gift of all it surely is the gift absolutely necessary to receive other gifts.
Life: I am not an inanimate being like a rock or sand I have life. And I don’t have any kind of life. I am not a cabbage or a monkey I am a human being made in the image of God. I am unique; there is no one else like me. I am a masterpiece and indispensable. I am not a genius or Olympic athlete but I have all of my members and they work together well. I was born in a land of plenty and of religious and political freedom.
Gifts of nature: “The hills are mute but how they speak of God…I see his blood upon the rose and in the stars the glory of his eyes…every bush is burning.” There are four different seasons and an endless variety of plants, trees, birds, animals and fish. There is the vastness of outer space and the depth of the ocean. These are not less a gift to me because others can enjoy them also.
Supernatural gifts: the gift of faith, Baptism and the other Sacraments. God looks over me 24/7 with his Divine Providence and sends crosses occasionally to save me from myself. I have many more special gifts known to me alone. As some one has said, “Not to be considered among the least gifts of God is the ability to have a BM.”
If God would not send me one single gift more I should be convinced that God loves me. But the best is yet to come. As long as I live God will continue to give me these gifts and at the end he will give me the greatest gift of all the gift of the Giver to be known and loved forever.
The result of the deductive and inductive, the “trickle down” and the “bubble up” method is the same. God loves me unconditionally with a love I cannot earn or ever be worthy of, not for my possessions or for my accomplishments, but for myself, for myself not as I could be or should be but as I really am with all of the physical warts, psychological quirks and spiritual infidelities.
love of God is indissolubly both a free
gift of God and a free acceptance on our part.
“Take it or leave it.” But don’t blame
anything or any one else.
|© 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J. all rights reserved|