One of the deepest desires of the human heart is to know – to know to the depths of our being – that God loves us, singly and as a whole. We want to know that we are pleasing to God. But while it is our deepest desire, it is also one of the things most of us struggle constantly with. I don’t mean at the intellectual level. It is quite easy to say: God love me unconditionally. We can say it and we can understand it easily in our heads. But other messages we’ve picked up over the years make us feel inadequate; make us worry that we need to earn God’s love. And so we sometimes lose sight of God’s love and caring. We lose sight of the fact that God breathed each of us into existence with love, that we are the breath of God.
In today’s Mass we hear of God’s incredible love in the beautiful first Letter of St. John. We are exhorted to love one another because we are already loved by God, by the God who is love. And in the midst of John’s statement of the revelation of God’s love through the Incarnation is a very important reminder for us. It is not that we love God and are loved in return. Rather, God loved us first. “In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us.”
We need to continually pray for a deeper realization of God’s love, continually pray to God for the grace to accept the love He so desperately wants to give us. The offer of love is always present to us; it is our choice to accept. I can do nothing to gain any more of God’s love than I already possess. We struggle day in and day out because we think we have to do more. But we don’t have to be better; we only have to be what we are – the beloved of God. God’s love is based on nothing and, therefore, is the most secure and basic fact on our lives.