Deacon Bob Hamilton took us through the romantic journey of God as our lover, chasing us in a ‘teenage crush’ to a committed, intimate union of souls. Using scripture, writings of St. Catherine of Sienna, Fulton Sheen and others, Deacon Bob shows God as the lover not only of the human race, but of each one of us individually. This written overview cannot express the enthusiasm and emotion of his presentation, but I pray it will at least give you some insights.
GOD IS IN LOVE WITH YOU! Stop and think about that for a moment. Imagine walking arm and arm with God, going on picnics with God, telling Him everything, including all your inside jokes.
What words come to mind when you think of God’s love? Do you think of words such as giddy? Extravagant? Humiliating? Do you see a beautiful sunset and think, “Thank you God, for this gift to me.” Think of a high school crush, and all the humiliating things someone may do to get the attention of the one they desire. Does God humiliate Himself to get your attention? The creator of the universe, humiliates Himself out of love for you, just to get your attention because He is so in love with you! Intimate, consoling, passionate, infatuating, silly are all words which can describe God’s love for you.
Let him kiss me with kisses of his mouth, for your love is better than wine, better than the fragrance of your perfumes. Your name is a flowing perfume— therefore young women love you. Draw me after you! Let us run! The king has brought me to his bed chambers. Let us exult and rejoice in you; let us celebrate your love: it is beyond wine! Rightly do they love you!
Compare this to the lyrics of your favorite love song. This is God’s love song to you, found in Song of Songs 1:2-4
St. Catherine of Sienna, living in the fourteenth century, was a mystic who believed Jesus gave her a ring, at the age of nineteen, for their spiritual espousal. She received the stigmata at age 28 and is only one of three female doctors of the Church. She received dialogues with Jesus, which she dictated to others. Venerable Fulton Sheen is another who wrote a book on the Divine Romance, and even though he is a completely different personality from St. Catherine of Sienna, there is a great deal of similarities in their writings on the Divine Romance.
When looking at the dialogue of St. Catherine with Jesus, the words of Jesus resemble those of one madly in love with another. Again, think back to a crush you had. “Did he(she) look at me weird? Why hasn’t he(she) called me yet?” Maybe someone younger than you had a crush on you, yet you wish they disappeared as you were infatuated with the head cheerleader (or football quarterback). Do we also push God away in favor of attention, honor or glory of other people, or for our favorite sins?
Where does love begin? Love begins with the Trinity. Divine love is creative. Creation happens because Divine Love cannot be contained. We are creatures that are created simply because God loves. It’s what He does; it’s what He is.
Who is more powerful than God? We are. Think about the high school crush. Who has the power? The one seeking or the one being sought? When you seek a relationship with someone they have the power to accept or reject that relationship. God is the seeker. He seeks us. We are the ones with the power to either accept or reject Him. He is so loving that He gives us the opportunity to say no to Him.
The first love story is in the Garden of Eden. But there is a rule. Do not eat of the tree of knowledge. The rule is there to give us the opportunity to say no, to exercise our free will. Then enters Satan. He sees their weakness, exploits that weakness to make it look good and does so with the principal vices to which we are predisposed. Each of us has different vices to which we are predisposed. God chases each one of us individually, and Satan also chases each one of us individually for a completely different type of union.
A creature found in himself, rebellion against himself.
We have met the enemy and he is us. – Fulton Sheen
The two things Satan does in the garden, is to challenge the mind: Why is there a rule? Intellectually, I want God to tell me why the rule is there. The second challenge is to the will. He says it is forbidden; if it is forbidden, it must be desirable.
Rejection – Do you know how this tree finds such roots? In the height of pride, which is nourished by their own sensitive self-love. Its branch is their own impatience, and its offshoot indiscretion.
The miserable soul is full of ingratitude, whence proceeds every evil. But if she were grateful for the benefits she has received, she would know Me, and knowing Me would know herself. Dialogue between Jesus and St. Catherine of Sienna.
It is impossible to break through to those who are overwhelmed with ingratitude. To evangelize, we can only show them that we have gratitude and that gratitude is grounded in Christ, in the hopes that they see in us something to be desired.
Those with disordinate love of the world, are dead to grace. Wherefore because they are dead their memory takes no heed of my mercy. The eye of their intellect sees not and knows not My Truth, because their feeling is dead, that is, their intellect has no object before it but themselves, with the dead love of their own sensuality, and so their will is dead to My will because it loves nothing but dead things. Dialogue between Jesus and St. Catherine of Sienna.
At the point when we realize God has been chasing us, and decide we do want a relationship with Him, we strive to climb out of sin and on to heaven. However, we only have so many tools. We cannot reach heaven on our own. The degree of a crime is based on the one it is committed against. Stealing a loaf of bread from someone who has warehouses full of food is different than stealing it from someone who is depending on that loaf to feed themselves and their family. When we commit a sin against God, because He is an infinite being, the offense against Him is infinite, and the separation between us is infinite. Therefore the reparation must also be infinite. On our own, we cannot breech this separation. God can, but He has done no wrong. If God just pays the price, justice is not served as He has done nothing wrong. Therefore, He must join humanity and divinity together.
The Return – And I, with my humanity, destroyed his pride, humiliating the divine nature, and taking your humanity, and freeing you from the service of the devil, I made you free. And, not only did I give you liberty, but, if you examine, you will see that man has become God, and God has become man, through the union of the divine with the human nature. Dialogue between Jesus and St. Catherine of Sienna
Think of the person who humiliates himself to get your attention. God is that person. God humiliates Himself to give us freedom from sin. God’s love for us is so intense, He does not allow Himself to give up on us.
God’s love goes all the way to the Cross! Not just Trinity, not just creation, not just friendship, not just covenant, not just forgiveness, not just incarnation…all the way to Redemption!
Redemption is always available to us until our death bed. God allows us to choose to accept it. He says,
But arriving at the extremity of death, and recognizing his sin, his conscious unloaded by confession, and presumption taken away, so that he offends no more, there remains mercy, and with this mercy, he can, if he will, take hold on hope.
I respond to them with the same love, with which they love Me, so if they love Me, as a servant does his master, I pay them their wages according to their deserts, but I do not reveal Myself to them, because secrets are revealed to a friend, who has become one thing with his friend, and not to his servant.
I will not remember that you ever offended me.
– Dialogue between Jesus and St. Catherine of Sienna
God pursued us. We rejected Him. We turn to Him. He unites His nature with ours, becomes one with us and redeems us. We can now live out this relationship with Him. What does this look like?
Prayer is nothing else but union with God. When one has a heart that is pure and united with God, he is given a kind of serenity and sweetness that makes him ecstatic, a light that surrounds him with marvelous brightness. In this intimate union, God and the soul are fused together like two bits of wax that no one can ever pull apart. This union of God with a tiny creature is a lovely thing. It is a happiness beyond understanding. St. John Vianney
Patience cannot be proved in any other way than by suffering.
No one shall be crowned unless he/she struggled. Virtue is only possible because struggle is possible. Ven. Fulton Sheen
How do we love God in return? We choose Him above all things, acknowledge His grace in all we have and let Him be God.
Holy Fear is love’s fear, namely, the kind of fear that is inspired by love. It’s a fear based upon reverence and respect for a person or a thing we love. When we genuinely love another person we will live inside of a healthy anxiety or a worry that our actions should never grossly disappoint, disrespect or violate the other person.
God wants to be treated as our spouse. Following are some additional quotes from Dialogue between Jesus and St. Catherine of Sienna. Read each one, and picture God saying this to you. He is saying this to you. This is His desire.
If a man carry carry away the vessel which he has filled at the fountain and then drink of it, the vessel becomes empty, but if he keep his vessel standing in the fountain, while he drinks, it remains full.
Stay in union with God. Stay with the source of Love.
Sacrament. How do you touch It? …The soul touches Me with the hand of love, as if to certify to herself that which she has seen and known through faith. How do you taste It? With the palate of holy desire. The corporal palate tastes only the savor of the bread; but the palate of the soul, which is holy desire, tastes God and Man.
By receiving this Sacrament she dwells in Me and I in her.
Receive Him often in the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
You loved me before I existed, and that Your love for me is ineffable, as if You were mad with love for Your creature. Oh, eternal Trinity! oh Godhead! which Godhead gave value to the Blood of Your Son, You, oh eternal Trinity, are a deep Sea, into which the deeper I enter the more I find, and the more I find the more I seek; the soul cannot be satiated in Your abyss, for she continually hungers after You, the eternal Trinity, desiring to see You with light in Your light.
and another…yes, the words of Our Lord:
Consider also his indescribable delights, his unending riches and honors, and sigh for what is beyond your love and heart’s content as you cry out: Draw me on! We will run after you in the perfume of your ointment, heavenly spouse. Let me run and not faint until you lead me into your wine cellar, your left hand rests under my head, your right arm joyfully embraces me, and you kiss me with the sweet kiss of your lips.
How can you not be completely in love with a God who loves you so?!
Two other Saints weighing in on the matter:
Why then, man, are you so worthless in your own eyes and yet so precious to God? …Why do you ask how you were created and do not seek to know why you were made? Was not the entire visible universe made for your dwelling?It was for you that the light dispelled the overshadowing gloom; for your sake was the night regulated and the day measured, and for you were the heavens embellished with the varying brilliance of the sun, moon and the stars. The earth was adorned with flowers, grooves and fruit; and the constant marvelous variety of lovely living things was created in the air, the fields, and the seas for you, lest sad solitude destroy the joy of God’s new creation. And the Creator still works to devise things that can add to your glory. He has made you in His image that you might in your person make the invisible Creator present on earth…
Peter Chrysologus July 30 (Office of Readings)
The Creator still works to add to our glory!!!
Love is sufficient of itself, it gives pleasure by itself and because of itself. It is its own merit, its own reward. Love looks for no cause outside itself, no effect beyond itself. Its profit lies in its practice. I love because I love, I love because I may love. Love is a great thing so long as it continually returns to its fountainhead, flows back to its source, always drawing from there the water which constantly replenishes it.
It is true that the creature loves less because she is less. But if she loves with her whole being, nothing is lacking where everything is given. To love so ardently then is to share the marriage bond; she cannot love so much and not be totally loved, and it is in the perfect union of two hearts that complete and total marriage consists.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux
Our God wants to marry you!! Say “yes!”