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The Kinda Love You Can’t Shake


Even Kings and emperors with heaps of wealth and vast dominion cannot compare with an ant filled with the love of God.” ~ Guru Nanak

The virtues of reverence and responsibility are on the mind of Saint Paul in today’s 1st Reading (1 Thessalonians 2:9-13) as he implores the people of Thessalonia to “Walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into his Kingdom and glory.” To be Catholic is not merely to engage in a series of righteous acts. To be a baptized member of Christ’s Mystical Body goes beyond mere “doing.” It is a way of being. It is our identity, not part of our identity. It is who we are and who we are destined to be when the final chapter of the only story that ever mattered is finally written.

By God’s grace, and only by God’s grace, can we be transformed. This transformation is necessary for each of us. Trusting God’s grace means trusting God's love for us rather than our love for God. As is the case In today’s Gospel (Matthew 23:27-32) wherein Jesus unleashes his wrath on the scribes and Pharisees, as he was known to do from time to time, it was their hypocrisy and lack of humility that raised his ire. The deadly sin of pride drove their irrational obsession to be perfect. When they fell short of this impossible expectation, an inevitable outcome, they clung tighter to their delusion, going so far as to hold others to this standard despite never even approaching it in their own lives. We too can easily fall into this trap.

As Bishop Robert Barron so oftentimes points out, “Sin is not a weakness that we can overcome but a condition from which we have to be saved.” It’s only human nature to think that God loves us more when we do good and less when we sin or go bad. But as author Ann Tatlock points out “Here's the paradox. We can fully embrace God's love only when we recognize how completely unworthy of it we are.”

God never stops loving us. If He withdrew his love for us even for a second, it’s not that we would die; we would instead cease to exist. As German Theologian Dieter F. Uchtdorf puts it, “Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God's love encompasses us completely. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken.” Understand this and all feelings of inadequacy, self-loathing and anxiety will be returned back to he whom from which it came: Satan. For as the prophet John tells us in one of the most seminal, oft-quoted passages in Scripture, “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17).

“Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy.” ~ Psalm 90

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