Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us.—1 John 4:10
When we perceive how much God loves us, an amazing effect is produced in our personalities—we begin to love like Him. We cannot help it. Love—agape love—is not the fruit of labor; it is a response. When we stand at the foot of Calvary, the place where the love of God is fully focused and caught up, the scales drop from our eyes, and our own love flames in response. We love Him because He first loved us.
Teresa of Avila tells how one day, going into her private room, she noticed a picture of our Lord being scourged before His crucifixion. She must have seen it hundreds of times, but in that moment of revelation she saw it as she had never seen it before. She saw God suffering—suffering for love and suffering for her. The revelation sent her to her knees sobbing in pain and wonder, and when she arose, she was a changed woman. The revelation of Calvary’s love was the great divide in her life. She said that she arose with a sense of “unpayable debt” and went out to share God’s realized love with others.
Don’t try to manufacture love. Linger in the shadow of the Cross. The love of God finds its most burning expression there. Meditate on it. Contemplate it. Remember that heaven knows no higher strategy for begetting love in mortal hearts than by granting us a vision of how much we are loved, a vision strong enough to evoke a response in our hearts—and by that answering love begotten in us by the Holy Spirit, we are freed and purged and saved.
Gracious Father, I see that before I can love, I must comprehend how much I am loved. Help me be aware that in my heart I have the most aggressive Lover in the universe. I am eternally grateful. Amen.
Rm 5:1-8; Jr 31:3; Eph 2:4-5; 1Jn 3:1
How has God demonstrated His love for us?
What kind of love is God’s love?