I had never really thought about God’s great love for me, until one special Sunday several years ago. On that day, God’s love became personal to me – undeniably real. It was life changing!
My family attended St. Patrick’s Church on Camp Street weekly during the 1990’s. At that time, the pastor was Monsignor John Reynolds. I loved Father John, as he was unafraid to speak the truth, and made no apologies for it! He would always say, “If you don’t like what I’m saying, don’t tell me. Tell God. This is what God said, not me.”
After taking on the restoration of the historic church, Fr. John showed signs of slowing down. At one point, he suffered excruciating pain in his back and could not climb up the steps to the ambo anymore to preach his homilies. He also began forgetting things. On this one particular Sunday, he stood before the congregation, a hunched over shadow of the man that he once was. Stretching out his arms and placing them upon the altar, he braced himself. In the middle of his homily, his brain, (perhaps clouded by the pain) could not retrieve the words that he had prepared and rehearsed. Awkwardly, he tried to regroup his thoughts, but to no avail. Finally, after a few seconds of silence (that seemed like hours) a tear rolled down this seventy- something year old’s face, and he said passionately, “GOD LOVES YOU.” A bit louder and with a broken voice, he repeated, “I want you to know that God loves you…SO MUCH. That’s all.” End of homily. We all sat in awe of what had just happened – stunned, saddened and overjoyed all at the same time. I left church that Sunday knowing with all my heart something that I had often doubted. God does love me immeasurably, and He loves you, too. St. Augustine once said, “God loves each of us as if there was only one of us.” Think about that. Let the Truth of that statement settle into your bones.
As an adult who has struggled with fertility issues, I feared that I might not have any children of my own. After I was blessed with one child, it took six years to get pregnant a second time. I know what it means to cherish an only child, fearing that there will never be another. God loves us even more than this!
Once, when I was going through a particularly rough patch in life, I made my way to the adoration chapel, desperate to obtain some small measure of peace. I sat there for nearly two hours, pouring my heart out to God and just resting in His presence. I did receive peace – so much so that I had to make myself get up and go home. I wanted to stay in the safety of the chapel and hide from the problems of life so badly. Upon leaving, I walked swiftly to my car, trying to dodge the cold wind gusts. A beautiful, smiling woman wearing a black lace mantilla followed me. She approached me cautiously so as not to scare me. Then she told me that God wanted her to give me a message. “Wow. O.K.,” I thought. She told me that God wanted me to know that He was very close to me– “as close as the beating of my heart.” I thanked the woman, and she turned and ducked back into the chapel. I climbed into my car, half stunned. I tried to concentrate on the beating of my heart, but could not, so I placed my hand over my chest so that I could feel it pulsate. The thought that God had heard my prayers and pleas – that He would deign to be that close to me – that He cared that much. The love of the Creator for the created – unfathomable, and so beautiful! Are you aware of how precious you and your family are to God? God spoke to Jeremiah the prophet saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born, I consecrated you.” Think about that statement. Sure, God was talking to someone else, but what are the implications for us? Did He know us before He formed us in our mother’s womb? Why did He bring us into existence? Was it Love?
How do you want to respond to the reality of God’s incredible love? God wants to be the binding force in our marriages – the first of three – God, husband and wife. He wants to be the King of our homes. He wants to help us make our choices on what to watch on television. He wants to be there at the dinner table. He wants to be in our thoughts and on our lips when we rise in the morning and before we turn out the lights at night. He wants to celebrate the good times with us – birthday parties, learning to ride a bike for the first time, going fishing. He wants to comfort us when we are fearful or sad. Patiently, He is watching and waiting to be asked…
(an excerpt from The Answer for Families)
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”