December 15, 2014

Love of God

William of St-Thierry is wonderful in the Office of Readings today:
O Lord, salvation is your gift and your blessing is upon your people; what else is your salvation but receiving from you the gift of loving you or being loved by you?
The beginning of the love of God is the awareness of having been loved by God, loved into existence by the will of God and preserved in being from moment to moment by the love of God. In truth, God's love for us and our love of God end up being the same thing, for our love of God is the work of the Holy Spirit within us. The whole process is just that; the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son as it comes to live in us by baptism and faith.

Loving God is the beginning of the awareness of the love God has for us. This awareness bears further fruit in the continuing realization that we ourselves and everybody else and indeed the whole of creation is, in a sense, made out of love, coming into existence as it all does through the Word that is the Beloved proceeding from the Love that is the Source of all that is.

Realizing this love as the innermost identity of every creature, we begin to see our neighbor and the creation around us as not only lovable, but as something that demands love if it is to be truly appreciated and understood. This is how the love of God turns into the love of neighbor; when we realize that our neighbor has a demand on our love--if we are to truly love the love with which God creates--especially our neighbor for whom the awareness of the love of God may be obscured by the suffering and poverty that are the fruit of human sin.

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