“Never doubt this, whatever may happen to you in life: at every moment, you are infinitely loved.” — Pope Francis
Today marks the feast of St. Augustine, who once wrote these words of praise to the Lord, “You are good and all-powerful, caring for each one of us as though each is the only one in your care.”
That’s sometimes been more popularly interpreted as “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” However you read it, the point remains the same: we are loved by God in a way that is beautiful, generous, and unique.
It’s something all of us need to hear (shameless plug: I write about that in my next book, “The Busy Person’s Guide to an Extraordinary Life,” coming out in October) but I was happy to see the subject this morning on social media. A lot of us are living through what might be charitably called a “rough patch” right now — lockdown, illness, isolation, disconnection, alienation are weighing heavily on the world. It can be soul-crushing.
But know this: you are loved.
This comes from a book called “Finding God: Faith and Mental Health” by Father Billy Swan. An excerpt was posted in the blog for the Catholic Truth Society (CTS) — and I think it should resonate with a lot of people during the challenging times we’re living in:
The first and most basic message of the Christian faith is the pronouncement that we are accepted and loved unconditionally by God. In the Bible, St John reminds us of two of the most foundational doctrines of the whole Christian Gospel. First, that “God is Love” (1 Jn 4:8) – not that God is like love or does love but rather He is love itself. God’s essence and nature is love at the core. The second follows on from this, that “God loved us first” (1 Jn 4:19). God’s love precedes anything we can ever say or do by way of response. Christians believe that God loving us does not depend on us earning that love by how we behave. This is the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ and the gift that is continually offered to all in every place and time.
This message has become so familiar to us that its power to change us no longer has the effect it should. It has become so domesticated that we fail to grasp its full potential. Yet it remains a revolutionary message that changes lives every day. To the youth of the Church, Pope Francis spoke these words:
“The very first truth I would tell each of you is this: ‘God loves you’. It makes no difference whether you have already heard it or not. I want to remind you of it. God loves you. Never doubt this, whatever may happen to you in life. At every moment, you are infinitely loved.”
This declaration that we are loved by another is a positive, hopeful and transformative truth that addresses our human existence at every level. To be loved and love in return is essential for our emotional lives, for our emotions draw us into loving relationships which give us life and joy. Believing we are loved implies that no matter how we are feeling, how well or sick we become, God’s love is ever available and accessible in a deeply personal and consistent way. Here is an inexhaustible source of self-esteem and positive energy that cannot be replicated by our own efforts. It is sheer gift.
The assurance of God’s unconditional love is given because of who he has declared us to be – beloved children of God our Father who possess the goodness and beauty of God himself.
And for a chaser this Friday afternoon: some inspiration from the incomparable Josh Grobin.