Whenever we say, “I love you,” to God, we might hear him say, “I love you more.” Recently I wrote a book about God’s immense love for us— A Love Affair with God: Twelve Traits. Today I share with you the introduction to this book in hopes that it will remind you that no matter what trials you are going through right now, God is gazing on you with love.
Nothing is more practical than finding God,
i.e., falling in love in a quite absolute final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you out of bed
in the morning;
what you will do with your evenings;
how you will spend your weekends;
what you will read; who you will know;
what breaks your heart
and amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love. Stay in love,
and it will decide everything.
~ Pedro Arrupe, SJ
The almighty Creator of the universe chose to create you instead of countless other possibilities. You were deliberately and specifically called into being, not the result of a random lottery. Furthermore, God loves you with a love that is unconditional, constant, and endless. The good God loved you before you existed, loved you when you were a mewling infant, and will love you throughout your earthly life until you draw your last breath. God will love you beyond this world—after you have slipped into the next mysterious realm. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, God loves you today on Earth just as ardently as he will love you in heaven. Attempting to express in words the strong, relentless love God feels for you, English writer G. K. Chesterton coined the curious phrase “the furious love of God.” At the same time this divine love is also warm and infinitely tender.
God longs for you to reciprocate his love. Right now, this very instant, your divine Lover summons you to intimacy with him. What’s more astonishing is that every day he woos you in diverse ways designed to capture your heart, as A Love Affair with God: Twelve Traits demonstrates conclusively.
How can you know positively that God loves not only the world but you personally? As a Christian, you trust a religion that can claim a two-thousand-year-old tradition. Well, a cornerstone of this Christian faith is that you are made by Love (God) for love. You also accept your religion’s Sacred Scripture as divine revelation, that is, a means by which God “unveils” himself. In the Bible God professes his love for you repeatedly in black and white—unequivocally. Your Maker is not a shy lover.
Love at the Heart of It All
Acknowledging a universal truth, Bruce Springsteen sang, “Everybody’s got a hungry heart.” We human beings are designed to fall in love with each other. Far surpassing that, we were created to be involved in the greatest love affair of all: one with God. No one but your Creator will ever be your perfect soulmate. As long as you cooperate with the supernatural grace at work in you, your biography will read like a beautiful love story. After recounting your life—including its ecstatic highs and frustrating lows—it will end “and they lived happily ever after.”
According to the book of Genesis, you were made in the image and likeness of God. Because God is pure love, it follows that you too are capable of radiating love. Human love, in whatever form it takes, is an echo of divine love.
This song reminds me of Francis Thompson’s poem “Hound of Heaven”: