HomeCommentaryThe manifesto of God's love

The manifesto of God’s love

Our most noble calling lies in having a self-giving love for the Spirit, and for all humanity and creation

Reflection for the 6th Sunday of Easter (Cycle B)

God loves us. God loves without exception, all of humanity and all of creation with a self-giving love. This love is said to be reflected in the perichoresis of his trinitarian reality, in which the manifestations of the Spirit as creator, redeemer and sanctifier are in an eternal self-giving communion.

Self-giving love is the bond which can sustain all of creation, because only when creatures – both animate and inanimate – are giving of themselves consistently from, with and through a recognition that one is and will always be responsible for the other, will the entire cosmos be preserved for the ages.

However, creatures – most especially our supposedly sapient species – are always tended toward self-centering, which mainly constitutes acts that are directed towards self-preservation or self-gain. Acts of self-preservation are understandable and natural, for as long as such acts do not constrain or inhibit another from appropriating its own means to preserve itself. Acts of self-gain are tolerable only to the extent that such acts are not done at the expense or loss of another.

Since self-centering love is a “love” that may become inordinately focused on self-satisfaction, it must be controlled because if such acts are done willfuly, irresponsibly and unrelentingly against each other, then the inequality in the right to achieve self-fulfillment will lead to a social destruction. Self-centering that remains uncontrolled or refuses to be controlled, is therefore evil.

God’s love on the other hand, is a perfect self-giving love, a model for all creatures to follow. It is a love that ensures sustainability. True indeed, “it is in giving, that we receive.” But self-giving in most cases, may have to be learned, because self-centering is easy and tempting while self-giving is difficult and hard to comprehend for it is sensibly against the instinct of self-preservation.

How may we describe his self-giving love? As creator, he allows life to begin and end in a progressive direction which ultimately leads to himself; as redeemer, he saves what is lost or what tends to be lost; as sanctifier, he sustains what needs to be sustained.

- Newsletter -

In all these acts, God totally gives of himself, even restraining himself in allowing the death of one to give way to the birth of another.

From this example of God, and the relational dynamics of his universe, we learn that love is clearly and undeniably a willful and responsible choice to subordinate oneself in order to balance the needs and interests of oneself and another. Our love for humanity and creation must thus be principally expressed in intentions and actions mirroring his self-giving love.

Our most noble calling therefore lies in having a self-giving love for the Spirit, and for all humanity and creation. We are called to help save and sustain all that he has created, to allow his purposes for each one of us to be fulfilled, and to dare not interfere with what he has already allowed to end. Our love must be a willful and responsible choice to love as he loves, hopefully inspiring others to do the same.

Our love for God, for humanity and creation must also be interdependent. One “love” must not be chosen independently over the other: to love humanity and creation without the love for God, may place this love in the direction of self-centering, manifested in class hatred, racism and the like; to love God without serving humanity and creation, may also place this love in the direction of self-centering, manifested in a discrimination against the secular, spiritual indifference, etc. A defense of humanity and creation makes sense only in relation to a love for God, as a love for God makes sense only in relation to a service for humanity and creation.

This theological proposition on God’s love reveals its ethical postulates. A “perfect” morally good action is thus an intent or act that willfully and responsibly expresses God’s self-giving love, both for God, and for humanity and creation; a morally good action though “imperfect” is an intent or act that tends only to one “love” chosen independently over the other.

A morally neutral action that is neither good nor evil, is an intent or act that is not expressive of God’s self-giving love; essentially, they are self-centering actions which at least to a certain extent do not lead to the detriment of another. But a morally evil action is an intent or act that is an abuse of self-centering, leading to the retrogression or destruction of the other.

Herein lies what may be the soul of the cosmic order, the key to comprehending the beginning and end of time; the birth and death of worlds; the rise and fall of civilizations; the joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious mysteries of life.

Self-giving love permeates through the drama of our history, making the important difference between harmony and happiness, or chaos and despair. The mission of proclaiming it most especially through the sign of the cross of Christ, must endure. So must we all embrace this manifesto of God’s love.

Brother Jess Matias is a professed brother of the Secular Franciscan Order. He serves as minister of the St. Pio of Pietrelcina Fraternity at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Mandaluyong City, coordinator of the Padre Pio Prayer Groups of the Capuchins in the Philippines and prison counselor and catechist for the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.

The views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial stance of LiCAS.news.

© Copyright LiCAS.news. All rights reserved. Republication of this article without express permission from LiCAS.news is strictly prohibited. For republication rights, please contact us at: [email protected]

Leave a Reply

Support LiCAS.news

We work tirelessly each day to tell the stories of those living on the fringe of society in Asia and how the Church in all its forms - be it lay, religious or priests - carries out its mission to support those in need, the neglected and the voiceless.
We need your help to continue our work each day. Make a difference and donate today.