WEâ€™VE just celebrated the solemnity of the annunciation of the Lord, and weâ€™re reminded of that most heart-warming truth of our faith that God became man in the purest womb of Mary to reach us, to be with us, to save us.
In so doing, God assumed not only our nature but also our wounded condition, including death, without committing sin, if only to identify himself completely with each one of us.
His love was, is, such that he goes all the way, even to assuming all our sinfulness to bring us back to God, from whom we come, to whom we belong and in whose image and likeness we have been created.
His love is not just the â€œerosâ€ typeâ€”loving someone with the view of getting something from that someone. Nor is it simply â€œfiliaâ€â€”a form of loving expressed in sharing things. It is â€œagapeâ€â€”the highest form of love where one loves irrespective of getting something or not, or even rejected and contradicted.
God can never forget us, a truth that was already articulated well in the Book of Isaiah: â€œCan a woman forget her sucking child, that she would have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.â€ (49,15)
We have to pound this truth of our faith constantly into our head and heart, so we can feel at home with it. Our problem is that we often take Godâ€™s love for granted and thus trivialize the dignity that we have, and suffer the consequences that actually can and should be avoided. We can either abuse this love or doubt it.
We may feel awkward about this truth, since we seldom, if ever, expect much less experience a love such as this. We often consider such love as madness, or impossible to take place, etc. But this is the love God is offering us and is asking us also to have.
This tremendous love of God to us through Christ was once described vividly by St. Paul. Letâ€™s listen to him slowly:
â€œWhile we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Why, one will hardly die for a righteous manâ€”though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die. But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.â€ (Rom 5,6-8)
This awkwardness toward the incredible love God has for us is very understandable, but we have to fight it off. The truth is that with Godâ€™s incarnation in Christ, thereâ€™s nothing in our life that is not covered by his redemptive work.
Whatever our situation is, whether approved or disapproved by him, God will always love us and will do everything to bring us back to him. He precisely is willing to die for us.
All we have to do is to cooperate with him as much as we can. This is also because no matter how much God loves us to madness, he cannot impose that love on us. He will always respect our freedom, even if we choose to misuse it.
Itâ€™s always worthwhile to pause and reflect on this crucial truth of our faith, because it is also something that is expected of us. Our love for one another, as Christ commanded us in his new commandment, should reflect this very love God has for us.
We need to understand one another, willing to go all the way to bear the burden of the others. St. Paul precisely told us about that: â€œBear one anotherâ€™s burdens, and you shall fulfil the law of Christ.â€ (Gal 6,2)
This will obviously require a lot of adjustments on each one of us, since our tendency is to think and care only for our own interests. And if we happen to be interested in the concerns of the others, it is usually pursued with some self-interest in mind, with some ulterior motive involved.
We have to learn to forget ourselves and immerse ourselves completely and gratuitously in the affairs of the others, understanding them no matter how different they are from us or how wrong we feel they are about certain matters. We have to be friendly to everyone, and quick to forgive and to reconcile once some conflicts occur.
Yes, we can and should proclaim this truth in season and out of season, but without imposing it. If we suffer because of that attitude, so be it. Such suffering will be a participation of the redemptive suffering and death of Christ on the cross.