Shocking isn’t it? But it’s true.
Upon listening to Catholic radio on my drive in to work in the morning (which I suggest everyone do, whether through a local station or streaming on an app, as it is so much better than local news and radio), I heard a conversation that focused on addiction. A caller was asking about how to move forward from their issue and how their relationship with God could help. The priest who was on the show said some of the most profound things I have heard in a long while.
It is more important to know and discover that YOU are loved by God, before you can attempt to give that love to others. Right living, and Christ-like behavior cannot be the source of your healing, but will later be an expression of your healed self and love from God. The first and easiest way to think about this can be found in a simple imagery. The priest mentioned that when he is counseling someone, he would ask them what they thought Jesus’ reaction would be, if He came in when the person was at their lowest moment of this sin. Most people would respond that they thought Jesus would be disappointed, sad, or even angry with them. Perhaps He would even turn his face away in sorrow. But the priest replied that this is not what he believes Christ would do. He said that he pictures Christ as having righteous anger and love. This would be the Jesus who over-turned the tables in the Temple for selling and money-changing.
He imagined that Jesus would grab what ever was hurting you, that money, that iPad, that food, that trashy magazine, and throw it across the room as He cleaned house. He would then turn to you, pull you up to Him, and hold you against His chest in protective sorrow as He cried with you and told you how sorry He was that those people, those things, those images had hurt you. He would show you how much He loves you and wants to protect you from those harmful things. YOU. ARE. LOVED.
None of us are beyond the love of God. This is why the imagery of God as Father is so powerful. The connection of parent to child is so deep and so immense, that nothing can separate us from their love. No matter how far we have gone astray, no matter what the offense, we are His children first and foremost and He loves us unconditionally. This has been expressed time and time again in the scriptures, but somehow many of us don’t fully grasp it. The Prodigal Son, the Lost Sheep, the Woman Caught in Adultery. They all speak to the unshakable love of God for us.
Once we finally know we are loved, then we can see why we need to live our lives as children of God. Once we know we are loved, we can love others and let them know that GOD loves them too. This is what we are called to do.
Tags » atonement, call to holiness, Christ, confession, doubt, faith, forgiveness, God, hope, humility, jesus, love, mercy, money, penance, pornography, prayer, redemption, sin, trust
He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. – 1 John 4:8-10