GOD IS LOVE
By Tim Muldoon
God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgement, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love their brothers or sisters whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.
1 John 4:16-21
“Perfect love casts out fear,” writes the author of this letter. He is right: those on a mission accept that there will be highs and lows, moments of difficulty. What is important when one is on a mission is to keep going until it is completed, mindful that God’s grace sustains us along the way.
Choosing to follow Jesus does not guarantee happiness in the way people often imagine it. Rather, it guarantees love, both the knowledge that God loves us deeply and unconditionally, and assurance that our living in love will lead us outward to share it with others. The words of Father Zosima in Destoyevsky’s
‘The Brothers Karamazov are true:
Strive to love your neighbour actively and indefatigably.
In as far as you advance in love you will grow surer of
the reality of God and of the immortality of your soul.
If you attain to perfect self-forgetfulness in love of your neighbour,
then you will believe without doubt, and no doubt can possibly enter your soul.
This has been tried. This is certain.
Happiness often will be a by-product of love; the way good feelings often are a by-product of exercise. But we do not exercise only for good feelings, and we do not follow Jesus only for happiness. We set our eyes on the goal and pursue it with great resolve; for in the end, love is the only good worth seeking in this life or the next.
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
My memory, my understanding, and my entire will,
All I have call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and grace,
That is enough for me.
St. Ignatius of Loyola