God begs us to return to him

HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

Imagine that! The giver of all good things, who is already all perfect and from whom nothing would be lost if we would not only mind him but also offend him, makes this appeal for us to return to him.

This goodness of God was expressed in the first reading of the Mass for Friday of the third week of Lent (cfr. Hosea 14,2-10) when we hear from him these words addressed to the chosen people of Israel: “Return, O Israel, to the Lord thy God: for thou hast fallen down by thy iniquity.”

God’s love and magnanimity really knows no limits. This is truly what pure love is which we are supposed to channel also in our lives, since we supposed to be God’s image and likeness, sharers of his divine life and nature.

Let’s remember how St. Paul described love: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Cor 13,4-7)

And Christ commanded us to love in this way. When asked what the greatest commandment was, the clear answer was: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength. This is the first commandment. And the second is like to it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Mk 12,30-31)

Christ himself personified this love by following the will of his Father by becoming man and saving us through his passion, death and resurrection. He now commands us to love one another as he himself has loved us and continues to love us. (cfr. Jn 13,34)

We have to realize then that for us to return to God, we have to love the way God loves us, and the way Christ embodied that love. This is what God is begging of us, and we should just try our best to learn to love the way it should be.

It obviously is a tremendous challenge for us, given the way we are. But we are actually given all the means so that we can truly live that kind of love. All we have to do is first of all to humble ourselves so that the seed of faith can start to grow and can lead us to have hope in spite of the difficulties we encounter in life, and eventually to capture the essence of charity.

This humbling of ourselves may mean that we start forgetting more and more of ourselves and think more and more of God and the others. A true lover gives himself more and more to his beloved, irrespective of how the beloved reacts to his love.

Hopefully, this humbling of ourselves would fill us more and more with the spirit of Christ who is the only one who can empower us to love as we should. Let’s see to it that every time we say sorry for whatever mistake, failure or sin we commit, we can get the sensation that we are putting ourselves on the path of charity. There should at least be a lessening of anguish, fear, sorrow. Joy and peace should prevail!

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