Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J.
The Second Reading for Sunday, the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, expresses the most important psychological truth of Christianity. “Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-38)
God loves me unconditionally. To realize this truth is the first step on the road to salvation and the secret of great sanctity and happiness. And it is also the truth that no one really believes. If we really believed it our lives would be quite different.
Psychologists tell us that in order for a child to grow into an emotionally mature adult it is necessary that the parents love this child unconditionally, in spite of everything, simply because it is their child. And it is also necessary that the child know and experience this unconditional love. This enables the child to accept himself as loveable and valuable in himself. From this conviction he can go on to accept and love others and in so doing to become an emotionally mature adult. As the words of an old song express it: “You’re nobody till somebody loves you; you’re nobody till somebody cares.”
The same is true in the spiritual life. In order for a person to grow into a spiritually mature Christian, it is necessary to realize and experience the unconditional love of God. The conviction and experience that God loves him unconditionally, in spite of everything, will enable him to accept himself as loveable and valuable, and from this to go on to love God with his whole strength and his neighbor as himself. And this is what Christianity and spirituality is all about.
If I could add one more article to the Apostle’s Creed it would be, God loves me. If you do not believe this you do not believe any of the other articles because each article is saying the same thing in a different way.
God loves me. This is also the theme of the Bible, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. Like a great symphony, each book of the Bible keeps repeating over and over again in different variations, God loves me.
The great turning point in life comes when we 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 achievements but for myself, not as I could be or should be, but as I am, with all of the physical warts, psychological quirks and spiritual infidelities.
Once again we see that Christianity is not primarily an intellectual pursuit, it is a pursuit of the heart. It is not a head-trip, but a heart trip. It is the realization of the simple truth, the discovery of the obvious that is salutary and life changing.
In a nutshell, all that I have, all that I am, all that I ever will be is a spin-off from the REALITY that God loves me. My response, the quality of my life, is a spin-off from my REALIZATION of this reality that God loves me.
Therefore, my number one job is to grow in the realization of the truth that God loves me.
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