this is the mystery of our vocation: not that we cease to be men in order to become angels or gods, but that the love of my man’s heart can becomes God’s love for God and men, and my human tears can fall from my eyes as the tears of God because they well up from the motion of His Spirit in the heart of His incarnate Son. 144

Theologians debate and quibble over intricate definitions of the nature of God. But the writer of I John gets straight to the point stating simply and boldly,

God is love (I John 4:8).

Love is the beginning, middle and end of the spiritual life. Love is the goal to which we are called. Love is the means of moving more fully towards embodying our true nature as beings created “in the image and likeness” (Genesis 1:27) of that God who is love.

But, it is not my love. I do not own or possess this love that is my true nature. As soon as I try to control love, manipulate love, or use love for my own purposes, it seeps quietly away and is replaced by the dark reality of my own self-serving little ego-projects.

The love that fills the universe and breathes into my life when I open and receive it is God. This love is the power that brought all creation into existence, fills the universe and sustains all of life.

The Psalmist praises this presence of love who permeates all life, singing

Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,    your faithfulness to the clouds. (Psalm 36:5)

Without this love there is no life.

John states with challenging clarity that the path to knowing God goes in only one direction:

everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. (I John 4:7)

The path to this love that “knows God” lies along the way of gentleness and surrender. As I allow my heart to open, that which is most deeply and truly present within me will begin to emerge. I do not create this love I receive it as God gift.

What image do I carry in my heart of the Love that is God?

How does my vision of the spiritual journey change when I see the only purpose of my existence as opening more deeply to the presence of Love that is God?

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