Thursday, February 18, 2010

Blossom by Sarah of Clay Rosaries

Lenten Reflection #2

Well, it seems that Deus Caritas Est was a good choice and definitely divinely inspired reading for me for these forty days. I wanted to find out exactly how to grow in love of this God I have never seen so I can be prepared to meet him in death. Pope Benedict has laid out some clear directions on how to do precisely that. I am only on page 10 of the 25 page encyclical on love, but I have already learned so much. BTW, you can print this encyclical just as I did from this web page, from the Vatican website website which contains all the Church Documents.

The main thing that I got out of my reading was that love can never be forced. Sounds simple, but I think that was what I was somewhat trying to do. I can never force myself to love God- even though he commands that I love him. True love of God can only be a response to the God who first loved me. When I think of it this way, love seems easy. I can think of all the ways he has loved me first.

The Holy Father raised some logical questions to our own attitude: can we love God without seeing him? and can love be commanded? I found this section to be very interesting. (par. 16) He goes on to quote the First Letter of John about how we cannot love God and hate our neighbor. He says, "Saint John's words should rather be interpreted to mean that love of neighbour is a path that leads to the encounter with God, and that closing our eyes to our neighbour also blinds us to God." He give more examples of how God has shown himself to us. God made himself visible in sending his only Son. When I think of how far Jesus went to show me that he loves me, how can I deny that he has loved me first. In fact, the whole of Jesus' life was a love story (not to mention the old testament). He showed in countless ways that he seeks to win our hearts. The thought of God seeking to win my heart makes me swoon.

I will end this reflection with my favorite part of this encyclical so far.
"He has loved us first and he continues to do so; we too, then , can respond with love. God does not demand of us a feeling which we ourselves are incapable of producing. He loves us, he makes us see and experience his love, and since he has "loved us first", love can also blossom as a response within us."
Dear God, show me your love so that love can blossom within me. Amen.

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