God’s Tailored Love

I feel your frustration over the issue of God’s different loves.  While perhaps the vessel analogy, different sizes each filled to the brim, is one way of addressing it, I gave some thought to whether Scripture could shed some light on the question.  Three parables seemed to jump out at me:

  • Laborers in the vineyard: “After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard…. Going out about five o’clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’… When those who had started about five o’clock came, each received the usual daily wage. So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’ He said to one of them in reply, ‘My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?  [Or] am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?’ Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.” Mt. 20: 2, 6-7, 9-16.  You might argue: “But they all got the same; doesn’t that support the basis of my question, ‘Shouldn’t love be all the same.’”  However, I suggest that the analogy of the different vessels is also applicable here; each was filled with wages, i.e. love.  More to the point is the Master’s reply: ‘My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? …[Or] am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?’  God is not cheating anyone by loving each uniquely.  He is free to love as He wishes, which, by the way, is for our greatest happiness.  We should not judge Him by the standards of equity but by the standard of benevolence, mercy, generosity.   Indeed, unlike the laborers here, God does not “owe” us anything; in fact, by sinning, we are in debt to God beyond our wildest imagining.  So the unconditional Love He still chooses to bestow on us is entirely and utterly gratuitous.
  • Talents: “To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one—to each according to his ability…. Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.’ Mt. 25:15, 28-29  The point here is “to each according to his ability.”  We know that God gives each of us different abilities and levels of ability.  Certainly this is a manifestation of his unique love for each of us.  I admire Mother Theresa, but I was not given the graces she was to do her work for God.  However, I am given His graces to do the work for which He “needs” me.  The interesting point here is that, like “to everyone who has, more will be given,” we found out last week in doing the “knowledge of God after death” exercise, the greater capacity of love, the more knowledge-vision.
  • Seed: Depending on where the seed lands, on the path, rocky soil, among the thorns or on rich soil determines its fruition.  Looking at the problem of love from the opposite perspective, the magnitude of our reception will determine how much grace, aka God’s love, we welcome into our lives.  Let us pray we are “the seed sown on rich soil,…the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”
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Keep still…Be still…God’s got your back

“The Lord himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still.”  Ex 14:14 “Be still and know that I am God!” Ps. 46:11  While the first is a translation of the Hebrew for “keep quiet” and the second for “let go, relax,” they both indicate stillness, vocal and physical.  Both are stated in a context of reminding us that God fights for us…. all we have to do is trust Him to do so.

 

“Here I am” vs “I am”

The Grail translation of Ps. 40: 7 is “You do not ásk for sácrifice and ófferings, but an ópen éar. You do not ásk for hólocaust and víctim. Instéad, here am Í.” It struck me that while we say “Here am I,” God simply says “I am.” Ex. 3:14 This brings into stark contrast two realities: (a) There is no “Here” with God, only with us. He is present everywhere; and (b) The “am I” is a somewhat tentative declaration and even could be couched as a question, whereas God’s “I am” is not only declarative; it can even be seen as somewhat imperative. Pieper says, in discussing humility, that it always is in deference to my relation to God, whether directly or in others indirectly. This certainly brings that to the fore.

Understanding True Perfection

God does not make any mistakes when he is creating. Perfection, like Beauty, therefore, is in God’s mind, not in our eye. Our judgment of perfection is far from God’s perfect creation; a hydrocephalic child, as God’s creation, is a beautiful perfect child. The child has everything that God knows it needs to be that particular uniquely unconditionally loved person whom He has destined to be with Him forever in heaven. While it may be extremely difficult for us to comprehend, let alone accept this vision of God, our superimposed images of perfection stray far from the magnificent spectrum of God. Grant us, Lord, your eyes to see the world around us as you created it. “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” Gen 1:31.

Imitating the Hidden Life of Jesus

We mostly think about imitating the active life of Jesus. Yet, for the most part, our lives are an imitation of the hidden life of Jesus, the hours in the workshop, the meals with the family, the Sabbaths at the Synagogue, the pilgrimages to Jerusalem for the High Holy Days, in family birthdays, weddings and funerals, in shop talk and play, in laughing and crying. This comforts me in that I realize He obeyed and served God just like I do, not just in the public life, but also and for most of his life in everyday existence.