I love you. You are a good man.

I love you.  You are a good man.

Perfect love casts out all fear.

1 John 4:18

 This morning I sat in the Quiet with the words, Speak Lord, I am listening, washing over me.  As I snuggled in the prayer shawl my wife knitted for me I wrapped myself in the deep silence, hearing these words rise up within me, I love you.  You are a good man.

Tears soon welled up as I noticed myself cringing at these words.  Why is it so hard to just let God love me?  These words should fill me with joy, not push me toward sadness, I thought.

Perhaps it’s the pre-Vatican II sense of guilt I was raised with, I pondered.  The old: “It’s better to love your neighbor than yourself” philosophy that shamed me into false selflessness.

Or perhaps it’s the confusion I experienced over the years from the bitter and condemning words slung by others at me who misunderstood and manipulated me to meet their own need for love.

I’m not sure where the negative self-image within me comes from.  I’m beginning to believe that I may never understand why it’s so hard to let myself be loved.

And maybe trying to understand isn’t the point, since it drives me deeper into a tailspin of self-reproach.  Rather, perhaps the way out of this box is to spend more time opening my heart to the possibility that I am loved and am a good man.

A wise mentor once told me that he spends at least twenty minutes each day pondering and experiencing God’s love for him.  He sits in quiet meditation allowing himself to bask in the love of God.

Mother Teresa also required her nuns to sit before the tabernacle for one hour each morning before they began their work in the slums.  When asked why, Mother Teresa replied, so they can be filled with the love of God for themselves and then spread that love to others.

Maybe that’s the invitation from God to me, to all of us: to spend time each day simply letting God love us; to let ourselves feel the warmth that oozes through our pours like a spring rain filling us with the light of God’s love; to experience the peace that comes over us when we imagine what it feels like to be loved completely and unconditionally; to let the white light of compassion soothe us as we open ourselves up to the possibility that we are loved by the Creator immensely.

And maybe my resistance toward letting God love me is not an impediment I need to understand but rather an invitation to which I can say, yes.

Game Plan: Sit in the Quiet for 10-20 minutes and experience God’s love for you.  How does it feel?  What do you experience?  Can you imagine an immense love, pure and gentle for you, for others?  What would happen if you sat every day for ten minutes simply letting God love you?

 

God loves

4 Comments

  1. Thank you for this beautifully helpful share

    Reply
    • Rich,

      Thanks for your comment. I am grateful the post was helpful. My guess is lots of guys like me struggle at times with self esteem. Great to share the journey with you! Feel free to join the POS Community be becoming a member if you would like. Brian

      Reply
  2. I received an email containing the following reflection on today’s Gospel. It seems to speak to Brian’s thoughts about accepting God’s love; the striving of the human to respond to the divine.

    Gospel – June 7, 2013
    Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
    LK 15:3-7

    Jesus addressed this parable to the Pharisees and scribes: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?

    “And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’

    “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

    Reflection – June 7, 2013
    We lack the capacity to truly understand the nature and intensity of God’s love for us. It is beyond our reach because it is greater than we can imagine or muster within our own hearts. Yet on this Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, tradition offers us a beautiful image to contemplate as an entree into a deeper awareness of Christ’s love for us.

    The Sacred Heart is traditionally portrayed as a heart exposed, crowned with thorns and the cross, pierced, and ablaze. Each aspect of this image offers insight into the nature of Christ’s love. It is exposed; this is a love not meant to be hidden. It is crowned with thorns and the cross; this is a love that receives all for our sake. It is pierced; this is a heart wounded that life-giving grace might flow out. It is ablaze; the intensity of this love is likened to that of a raw flame. This is a love whose passion reaches out to consume us that we might truly live.

    That might be the most intimidating part of this great love of Christ. It is not out there merely for us to witness, it is a love meant for us to experience, to be drawn into. But to be drawn into such a love threatens to leave us exposed, crowned, pierced, and ablaze ourselves. Would we be able to handle such a love? What might it do to us? Can it be controlled? To be consumed by such a love is not a comforting prospect.

    Yet we have a sense that this love is at the heart of our desire, it is what our own hearts long for. This longing is the cause of our restlessness. All other means of satiating our desires will leave us empty. It is only this consuming, life-altering love that can quench our thirst. Our only hope is to be exposed, crowned, pierced and set ablaze.

    This is in part why the priests of Holy Cross, who look to the cross as our only hope, also look to the Sacred Heart of Jesus as our model and our desire.

    Rev. Jim Gallagher, C.S.C., ’98, ’06 M.Div.

    Reply
    • within the past couple years I have had this incredible desire to expose myself, my soul, my talents – naked to the world . . . and it is with an open heart that I have God so willingly line up the pillars & layout his path for me that I have realized but just a spec of his undying love for me.

      thanx for this beautiful note Steve.

      Reply

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