God is Love

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"Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other." – 1 John 4:7-11

God’s love is in us, through Word and Spirit...but, what is love?

Many of us toss around this word too easily. And we end up trivializing it. From the Barney theme song, to tourism marketing slogans, to the desire we have for chocolate, our vehicles, or our favorite pastime or entertainment, the word "love" is so misused and overused in our society that we hardly know what to think when someone says, "I love you."

The Bible tells us that "God is Love." But, how do we define love?

The American Heritage Dictionary defines love as "an intense affection for another person based on familial or personal ties". Often this "intense affection" stems from an attraction for that other person. We love other people, or we say we love other people, when we are attracted to them and when they make us feel good.

Notice that a key phrase in the dictionary definition of love is the phrase "based on". This phrase implies that WE love conditionally; in other words, we love someone because they fulfill a condition that we require before we can love them. How many times have you heard or said yourself, "I love you because you are adorable;" or "I love you because you take good care of me;" or "I love you because you are fun to be with"?

Our love is not only conditional, it is also changeable. We love based on feelings and emotions that can change from one moment to the next. The divorce rate is extremely high in today's society because husbands and wives supposedly stop loving one another; they "fall out of love". They may go through a rough patch in their marriage, and they no longer "feel" love for their spouse, and so their first instinct is to call the marriage quits.

Can anyone really comprehend "unconditional" love?

It seems the love that parents have for their children is as close to unconditional love as we can get without the help of God's love in our lives. We continue to love our children through good times and bad, and we don't stop loving them if they don't meet the expectations we may have for them. We make a choice to love our children even when we consider them unlovable; our love doesn't stop when we don't "feel" love for them. This is similar to God's love for us, but as we shall see, God's love transcends the human definition of love to a point that is hard for us to fully comprehend God's Love.

The Prayer of St. Francis eloquently voices this Godly love. Let us pray:

Prayer: 
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; To be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Date: 
May 6 2019