Friday, April 27, 2018

How Much Do We Really Love God?

How much do we really love God?

That sounds like a large and mystical question. Trying to answer it by scrutinizing our "religious feelings" could easily lead us to confusion or self-deception, or just make us go round and round in circles.

I find it helpful to ask another question: How do I act in relation to the people who are closest to me in my life every day?

There is plenty of material right here for an examination of conscience: one that brings humility, and sorrow, and a memory that commits me again to the vocation of love and the work that it requires.

If I were alone in my own being, however, this would be a fruitless commitment. I would despair of ever being able to find the bridge between my limited self and the lives of other limited persons. My solitude would be an impenetrable shell.

But I am not alone.

The God who gives me my very being is "present-with-me" as the Source of who I am—the God who, as Saint Augustine says, is "nearer to me than I am to myself." And Jesus Christ, Son of the Father, born of the Virgin Mary, crucified and risen from the dead, has taken hold of my life, and He is at work drawing me beyond myself by the power of His Spirit.

I fail again and again; I fall short in the limits of my love, and I am easily tempted to fall back into a sense of desperate isolation.

But I am not alone. Jesus is here.

The Risen Jesus has conquered my weakness. I must never be discouraged. I must keep going to Him, seeking Him, and asking for Him in prayer.

I must let Him build me up through the instruments of His grace in the Church, and enable me to recognize Him more and more in other persons, in every circumstance, especially in the ordinary circumstances of every day and in the apparently "ordinary people" that He has especially entrusted to me.

We will learn to love God according to His measure, by following the path He opens up in front of us. And we can trust Jesus who accompanies us, and the Holy Spirit who leads us.