Can you think of something incredibly loving that a person did for you? What effect does this have on your life?
My own father and mother dedicated decades of their lives – all their time and energy, often working 14-hours a day – to provide love, sustenance, education and all that my three siblings and I needed. I owe my life to my parents… they’re not perfect, but I never doubt their love for us. I confess: I take them for granted most of the time. I don’t call them often enough, nor do I express my love and gratitude to them as much as I should. However, whenever I take the time to do so, a paradoxical thing happens: in recognising their love and expressing my gratitude to them, not only do I feel a stronger love towards them, but it is as if I am filled again with the love of their past actions. It isn’t just a ‘memory’… I find myself very much loved once more, in the present!
I believe a very similar dynamic is often in play between God and us. God loves us completely and unconditionally, and has blessed us with everything we need. He gave us the miraculous gift of Life. He made us wonderfully and beautifully (yes, each and every one of us is ‘God’s work of art’ as St. Paul wrote in Eph 2:10!) He has ‘given us grace after grace’ (Jn 1:16) – the strength, endurance and patience to go through the many trials in life, the faith and hope to continue believing in our dreams, the love and mercy we need to get up after each failure and try again. He loves us so much that He even gave us Jesus so that we may have Eternal life (Jn 3:16), to show us the way and discover that Life is stronger than Death.
As I do with my parents, often we take God’s love for granted… yet how much good it would do us to recognise it! Not because God needs our gratitude and wants to guilt-trip us into loving him in return, but because it is in becoming aware of the things that God does for us out of love that we find ourselves loved, again and again. From there will come the conviction: “I AM LOVED, deeply and truly! I am PRECIOUS, a real work of art! I am not insignificant, but WORTHY!” – indeed, we are worth so much, that Jesus is willing to give His life for you and I.
As we continue our Lenten journey, let us walk day by day in the awareness of how loved we are by God!
God bless, Sr. Devy