The gift of the Beloved

Monday 18th Jan
Only those who truly know their need for the Beloved know how to receive the gift of the Beloved without misusing such love. A mutually admitted emptiness is the ultimate safety net for all love, and in the Scriptures, even God is presented as somehow “needing” us, and even “jealous” for our love (Exodus 20:5, 34:14). Basically love works only inside humility. My father, St. Francis, fell in love with the “humility” of God, a word that most of us would not even think could apply to God.
Fullness in a person cannot permit love because there are no openings, no handles, no give-and-take, and no deep hunger. It is like trying to attach two inflated balloons to one another. Human vulnerability gives the soul an immense head start on its travels–maybe the only start for any true spiritual journey. Thus, the Risen Christ starts us off by revealing the human wounds of God, God’s solidarity with human suffering. God begins with self-disclosure from the divine side, which ideally leads to self-disclosure from our side.
The Bible first opened up for me in the 1960’s when the Second Vatican Council said that divine revelation was not God disclosing ideas about God but actually God disclosing “himself” [sic]. Scripture and religion itself became not mere doctrines or moralisms for me, but love-making, an actual mutual exchange of being and intimacy.
The mystics, and those like Moses (Exodus 33:12-23), Jesus (John 5:19-20), and John (1 John 1:1-3) who personally claim to know God, are always aware that they have been let in on a big and wondrous love secret. Anyone not privy to an inner dialogue, that is, some kind of I-Thou relationship, would call such people presumptuous, emotional, foolish, or even arrogant. How could they presume to claim an actual union with the divine? But this is without doubt “the mystery of God, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). As John says, “Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God . . . for God is love” (1 John 4:7-8). Such an amazing, but seldom-quoted line, lets us in on the big secret and also makes it universal and available to all.

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