Posted On December 9, 2003

What if God Wanted to Tell You: I Love You!

We respond by proclaiming “Word of the Lord”. We say this because we believe in these words. We believe that this is precisely the message that God wanted to get through to us. The God that we believe in is one that became a man in order to come among us and to tell us in words and with deeds: “You are important to me”, “you are precious in my eyes…I love you” (cf. Isaiah 43:4).
Do you take these words for granted? If your answer is yes, it means you haven’t really understood them. If your answer is no, it means that there is still room in you to listen to the message of love that God has been addressing to you from eternity.
I will tell you something. When I was 15 years old I made the most important and beautiful discovery of my life, one which changed my existence completely; I understood that the Lord really loved me! Having said this, I realize that words are not able to fully communicate what I experienced. Words belong to language and to verbal communication and are an instrument of our thoughts. But to feel loved is neither a product of reasoning nor the intellectual  comprehension of a theorem or a syllogism. It is an experience. So that day my “understanding” was not an intuition nor a cerebral perception, but something that I had experienced with all my being and that permeated me so deeply that I’ve never been able to forget it.
To realize that before God you are unique, since for you “he doesn’t sleep at night”, should make your heart explode with joy! Has that happened to you yet? Don’t feel bad! I will reveal a secret to you: there are many roads and paths that can lead you to reach such an experience. Perhaps you will be able to find other ways, but for now we want to take small steps. The first is to rediscover that there is a privileged place where it is possible to find yourself wrapped in the infinite love of God. This place is prayer.
Maybe you have turned up your nose! But…don’t be in a hurry, and above all, don’t yield to your preconceptions! I will suggest an exercise for you. Take a sheet of paper and write all the words that you mentally associate with the idea of prayer. Perhaps you will write words such as silence, concentration, collectedness, duty, petitions and requests…. Why don’t you try to add some more words underlining them as well: rest, relaxation, embrace, intimacy…? That’s right, because way before being our effort, our conquest or our duty, prayer is God’s desire. God desires to love us and to fill us with himself, freely and fully—not in the measure of our merits and capacity but according to his bounty.
“If you knew the Master, prayer would no longer bore you. Prayer is truly restful and relaxing. It is going to the one you love in all simplicity,” wrote Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity.
To pray means to have the possibility of immersing yourself in the immense ocean of God’s love. To pray means to let his gaze reach you, the gaze that speaks of his understanding and of his meekness which reveals our beauty and dignity. To pray means to let yourself be fascinated by his silence which is so rich in meaning and to renounce the many words which fill your minds but leave the heart empty. To pray means to experience that before God we do not need “to do” or “to say”. It is enough simply “to be”.
Then prayer will no longer be neither a climb up the mountain to the mystery of God nor one more task that we add on to our already busy days. God is not waiting for us to see what we bring to him or to see how much we have gotten done with our own efforts or how many virtuous acts we can present as our credentials. Instead, he is waiting for us to stop and to sit next to him and to rest our head on his heart and to find peace. Above all, he is not waiting for us to love him but for us to let him love us. In other words, he is waiting for us to let him finally do what his job has been from all eternity: to love us first. Then, and only after having experienced the certainty that in his heart there is written only one name, yours, will you be able to truly love.
For the time being, stop to contemplate this love that has always been pursuing you. Be still and listen to God’s word. Have you ever realized that every page breathes his love for you? Take some time every day to experience this—to let him love you. When you will have learned to drop your masks and when you will have abandoned yourself as you are into the hands of him who loves you, then you will discover that the greatest act of faith you can make is not to recite the Creed, but to recognize that you will never be able to measure the depth of God’s love for you.
The day in which you feel your heart flooded with this grace which embraces and covers over your wretchedness is the day you will find your hands miraculously filled with gifts to bring to others. You will discover that everything that you are able to do is his “gift” and humbly you will tell him “Thank you!”
That day you will truly understand what it means to say: ”We love because he first loved us.”

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