“Neither Death, Nor Life….Nor any Other Creature…”

Today’s second Mass reading is a passage from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans that I love. Paul starts by asking what will separate us from the love of Christ? He answers with his conviction that

neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Reading the passage this morning brought back a very powerful experience I had during my retreat two weeks ago. As I was sitting in prayer, I became overwhelmed with a sense of God’s love and realized in that moment in a way far more profound than I had before that when we say God is love we literally mean it. That is, I was struck with the reality that love is not a choice on God’s part. It is not that God can love me or not love me. God ONLY loves, and my very creation and continued existence is an act of God’s love. There is no me separate from God’s love; without God’s love there would not be me.

That is a very powerful realization. In that moment I understood with enormous force St. Paul’s conviction that there is nothing – absolutely nothing – that can separate us from the love of God.

That is a realization that makes all the difference in the world.