Today’s post comes from Fr. Michael Schleupner. Fr. Mike offers mass regularly at our Center and just finished serving as a spiritual director during our August Directed Retreat. We’re so grateful for him! Today he reminds us to keep God’s love at the forefront of our lives.
Hatred versus Love?
At Jesus’ baptism and again at his Transfiguration, the voice of God from the heavens declares: “This is my beloved Son.”
I believe that God speaks these words to us at baptism: “You are my beloved daughter.” “You are my beloved son.” In fact, I believe that God speaks these words to all human beings at the time of our conception and birth.
All persons are beloved to God. We need to remember this. Being beloved by God and being assured of God’s love can transform us. It can give us a foundation for self-worth that is invaluable for our identity as persons. If we are assured of our own worthiness and value in God’s eyes, we will be much more inclined to look for worth and value in others.
If we see God as primarily and essentially loving, we will much more inclined to be empathetic and compassionate toward others. We will be far less inclined to be judgmental, condemning, and hateful. It seems to me that this is a fundamental, basic, core tenet to our faith – that we are loved by God. It is difficult to be a Christian or a Catholic Christian without holding this as central to our faith.
One of the most highly respected spiritual authors of the twentieth century puts it this way:
“The beginning of the fight against hatred, the basic Christian answer to hatred, is not the commandment to love, but what must necessarily come before in order to make the commandment bearable and comprehensible. It is a prior commandment, to believe. The root of Christian love is not the will to love, but the faith that one is loved. The faith that one is loved by God… that one is loved by God although unworthy – or, rather, irrespective of one’s worth.”
~Father Michael Schleupner
*Quotation above from New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton.