"To be loved and to love. Importantly, it's in that order: being loved by God came first. So we can stop scheming to win God's love, as I did for so many years. Many of us go through life worrying, 'I hope I'm good enough to please God and win his love.' Know this: nobody is good enough. But God loves us anyway. That's why we call his love a gift."
- Fr. John Riccardo
We read in the Bible that God is love. And, as we read above, his love is a gift, then he's gifting himself to us always, no matter what. How can I possibly live up to that... with my ego, judgements, and failings? But wait a minute. Is there even the smallest part of me that is a reflection of that type of love? What about with my kids? They didn't do anything to "earn" my love except come into existence. I can't love them any more or any less than I did at that moment, no matter what they do. Sure, I may not like some of the things they do, just like my parents didn't either, but my love for them will never fade. Maybe, just maybe, I allowed God to break free from the cage of my heart... at least there.
Fr. Riccardo nails the order in which it MUST occur. I can't give what I don't have. So, if I don't allow myself to be loved by God, how can I love others? It's impossible. I am completely unable to love without God, as he is love itself. It took so many years for me to accept that I am loved by God, no matter my failings. It's not an egotistical recognition, but a thankful, deep and restful sigh type of recognition. I know there are so many today who don't recognize God looking back at them in the mirror... they don't recognize God residing in themselves. It should be our mission to point those things out in one another. "I see this thing in you that you don't see yourself. And I want you to know how beautiful it is." When we do this, are we not simply cooperating with God... moving out of the way to let him speak to that other person directly?
I love you! Pass it on!