We love because he first loved us.
~ 1 John 4:19
I got married six years ago this week. It was a very interesting time in my life. My children were now adults, and after going through some difficult milestones in my life, I suddenly found myself just a few days away from getting married and sitting in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D. C., thinking about love while surrounded by images that illustrated just how much God loves each of us.
As I visited the many altars within the Basilica, each one with their own reflection of Mary and Jesus, I noted different nationalities and colors, but that the message of God's love transcended throughout it all.
Often we speak about love as if it is a feeling. But if we wait for a feeling of love before loving, we may never learn to love well. It had been a long time since I had actually "been" in love.
The feeling of love is beautiful and life-giving, but our loving cannot be based in that feeling. To love is to think, speak, and act according to the spiritual knowledge that we are infinitely loved by God and called to make that love visible in this world.
Mostly we know what the loving thing to do is. When we "do" love, even if others are not able to respond with love, we will discover that our feelings catch up with our acts.
How do we know that we are infinitely loved by God when our immediate surroundings keep telling us that we'd better prove our right to exist?
The knowledge of being loved in an unconditional way, before the world presents us with its conditions, cannot come from books, lectures, television programs, or workshops.
This spiritual knowledge comes from people who witness to God's love for us through their words and deeds. These people can be close to us but they can also live far away or may even have lived long ago. Their witness announces the truth of God's love and calls us to act in accordance with it.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2020
Rev. G. Todd Williams is the author of the book, "Remember Me When..." and is a former hospice chaplain and pastor.