Today is the First Sunday of Advent. A time to prepare for the Nativity of Our Lord and Savior. Below are some paraphrased thoughts taken from the writings of Bishop Sheen to help us understand God's Love and to help motivate us to prayer.....
“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life”. John 3:16 “Let us therefore love God, because God first hath loved us.” 1 John 4:19. Bishop Sheen claims that there are only two philosophies of life: one, the pagan, the other, the Judaic-Christian. He says that the pagan philosophy is one where man tries to climb to God. In the Judaic-Christian philosophy God descends to man: first by revelation to the prophets for the Jews, and finally in the flesh in the Person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Love originates not in our showing it to God, but in His showing His Love for us. God loved us first. God’s love for us is not affirmed because we seek Him or reach out to Him, and He responds to us. Bishop Sheen says that God’s love exists not on account of our character but on account of His. Our highest experience is to be responsive – we are not the initiators. It is only because we are loved by Him that we are given the grace to love Him back.
As one begins to seek God and to become more knowledgeable of Him and begins to grow in virtue, it SEEMS as if God begins then to love him. This is only because one is now, for the first time, sensitive to His Love. We are called to seek Him and to remove the barriers that keep the love of God from shining in our souls. Bishop Sheen uses the analogy of a blind man who may have just recovered his sight and comes to believe that the sun just started shining in the heavens - not realizing that all the while he was blind – the sun shone. He just couldn’t see it before. Also, when a child grows older, he may begin to realize the love of his parents. He witnesses their daily love and suddenly realizes it and begins to understand that his parents love him. The truth is - that the parents loved him since his gestation. All of us must know that the love of God for us began long before we ever become aware of it.
The human heart has many things which it likes to cling to but none can satisfy it like the love of God. This Advent let us meditate on God’s love for us poor miserable creatures. Let us think of the poverty He embraced so that the poor could not say He does not know what it is to be homeless. Let us think of His lowliness so that one could not say that He does not know what it is to be despised. Let us think of His meekness so that we might learn how to be childlike. He took on every form of humiliation of which was capable in order to show men how to struggle through the darkness into the light. Let us think of how God condescended from Heaven to be a little baby in a manger in order to show us the Way and to save us from our sins.
His presence in the crib is a witness of our need for Him. He would not have needed to come if all was well here on earth. He came because of His love for us! May we meditate on His love and seek to give Him our hearts in return for so great a love. May we all come to know that when we go to prayer – He first invited us! He is there waiting for our love in return for His!
May we have an Advent filled with love and gratitude for a loving Father who gave His only begotten Son so that we may have Life with Him here and for all eternity in Heaven.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Thank you, Most Holy Trinity for Your Love!
Bernadette Porter is a Traditional Catholic, a wife of 41 years with 6 adult home-schooled children and 5 grandchildren. A sincere devotion to Mary, the Mother of God leads me to want to share "The Church's best kept secret" - Mary!