Tuesday, May 23, 2017

We Must Remember Every Day that God Loves Us

I must remember every day that God loves me. 

This is difficult, or at least it seems difficult, for a person with the limitations of physical and especially mental illness. There is a daily struggle to break out of self-absorption.

Living with life-restricting physical and mental illness, however, has also made me sensitive to how much this is a problem for everyone. We all have suffering, and most of us don't have a very good "handle" on it. And we are all bewildered in various ways, confused, "messed up" in our understanding of life.

Even the healthiest people have heads full of junk: junk accumulated from incomprehensible painful experiences, from the betrayal or simply the failure of other persons, from frustrated efforts and unfulfilled aspirations, from the smallness and frailty of being just one small human being in an enormous, clamorous, relentlessly demanding and seemingly unforgiving world, from the basic distortion of their relationship to reality that everyone has thanks to the heritage of original sin, and from their own sins and self-centeredness.

It's a miracle that any person can experience the fact that they are loved.

Yet it happens. We live in a world of miracles.

God loves me, yes. I would not exist in this moment if He did not love me. He is the Someone who is closer to me than I am to myself, and yet also the transcendent Mystery. I am made for Him. The deepest longings of my heart are drawn to Him.

I must remember this every day, with conviction and gratitude.

But there's more.

God has revealed Himself as Love. And the God-who-is-Love has given Himself to me and for me, for all of us: He has come to dwell among us. God is present for us in this moment, not only as our Creator, but also as Someone who has a name and a face and a history in this world.

Jesus Christ.

Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and through the decisive companionship He has thus established with the whole life of each one of us, we can encounter Him. If we follow Him, we will discover that He changes everything. 

With all my incoherence and forgetfulness, I cannot deny that He has grabbed hold of my life. In His way and in His time--and even in the face of my own stubbornness and foolishness--He is changing everything. 

He changes all my relationships. He changes my solitude. He changes my suffering. It's not necessarily a change in "the way I feel about these things." It's not that "now I feel good all the time" (I don't). He changes the realities themselves; He has entered into the stuff of life because He claims everything for Himself. He is present. He is at work in my life and in the life of every human person.

I must remember every day that God loves me. God loves us in Jesus, concretely. Jesus loves each one of us, and He has come to be with us.