I Need To Love You
This morning I was reading a reflection by Concepcion Cabrera de Armida in a book called Holy Hours. On page 115 one line jumped out at me. “It is an essential need of my life to love You”. How often have our thoughts ever gone in that direction? We need to love God. It is part of our nature.
We need to love God because He is so good. We need to worship Him because of who He is, because of His love and goodness to us. So often we pray to God but we’re seeking something, things we need, counsel, help with a decision, and help with our lives or something for someone else. So often our focus is on ourselves, our family or friends, not on God. So often our prayer is about ourselves not God.
Yet we were made to love God not try to use God. We treat Him often as an all-powerful Santa Claus. Give me, Give me! Yet He deserves and desires much more than that. Our prayer lives should be based on more than our human desires. We should be seeking God. Prayer should be about giving to God our love. We need to do that for our own sakes. It is what we were created for. Without this aspect of prayer our lives will always have an empty spot that we can’t fill.
How do we do this? I wish I knew! I’d be a saint. I know what I’ve read. There’s a story of a peasant who would sit in church for hours just looking at the Tabernacle and a priest asked him what he did. The peasant’s response was he just looked at Him and He looked at him. It sounds very simple but just being present and still in the presence of the Lord is very hard. We’re too task oriented and driven. We think we have to be always saying the rosary or praying out of our prayer books. But if you think about it in a good romance the most important thing you do is spend time with that person.
Maybe we can learn how to love God from romance or marital relationship. In the ideal relationship one party doesn’t seek to use the other or constantly ask for things from the other. We wouldn’t call it love but using the other person. At the same time as much as we say we love God, do we really if all our prayers are asking God to bless us, our family and friends. Even if we’re praying for vocations, world peace, the hungry in Africa, or the Church we still asking God to give. This isn’t to say any of those things are bad but there must be more to our love for God.
Some part of our lives must be God directed, pointed to and going to God and not expecting God to give us things or blessings back. This is the hard part to desire nothing back but just to express our love for God, praise and give to Him without expecting anything back.
How do we give God love? Two ideas from modern romance apply. One we seek to know the other. The second is that one sacrifices for the other.
How do we get to know God? One way is by asking God to reveal Himself to you and then reading the scriptures. Read not for the stories or to find verses that encourage you or apply to your situation but read in order to know God better, who He is as He revealed Himself in scripture. Another way would be to spend time with Him in adoration. Here there is help getting started. There are a lot of good books for adoration that would help you make a Holy Hour.
Holy Hours are interesting. They usually take an hour or more. Too often we rush in and out and we really never settle ourselves enough for God to speak to us. Secondly, we need to spend most of our time listening not reading. Many of the books entitled Holy Hours are divided into six to eight page sections. They take maybe fifteen or twenty minutes to read. The rest of the time should be spent in reflection, thinking and listening.
This is an example of the sacrifice of romance, spending real-time with the beloved rather than rushing in and out. It is also an example of listening that should be part of all love relationships.
We are called to sacrifice for love of God. Growing up we learned to give to the missions, to reach out to the poor and to help others. There are more things we can sacrifice like sleep in order to attend mass or to spend time in prayer. We could sacrifice watching TV shows that our beloved might not like because of the violence. Whatever we decide to sacrifice it is important that we make the sacrifice out of love for God. If you think about the sacrifices you made for your spouse or kids they are similar. You give of your time and energy to do something for one you love.
As I said earlier I don’t know myself exactly how to love God for the sake of loving God for His goodness but I know it is something we need to do and think about in order to grow in our spiritual lives. Weirdly enough, we probably have to ask God for the help we need to do so.
Lord, I want to love You because You are so good and worthy of my love. I confess I‘ve failed so many times before. I want to do better. I need Your grace to do so. Amen.
This was recently published in Wellsprings.