One of the great philosophical questions is: Why is there being rather than nothingness? Why does anything exist at all?
A well known philosophical principle is: Good is diffusive of itself. We are so used to the daily routine of life that we seldom step back and notice the obvious. We exist and we do not have to.
God in his great goodness and love brought into existence us and the whole universe as a way of sharing his immense glory. The initiative has been with him since the beginning. Out of love he created us. He created us with a dignity and freedom that partook of something of his own nature. In his own image we were created, in the image of God: male and female were we created. He did not make us as robots or automatons; he bestowed on us the dignity of freedom.
When we used that freedom to turn away from him in a foolish quest for eternal life apart from him, he did not destroy us or abandon us to our nothingness but instead determined to offer us a chance at restoration and reconciliation in a display of love even more breathtaking than the creation.
While we were still locked in our sin - and sin is nothing if it is not ugly - in our hostility, selfishness, lust, greed, and blasphemous arrogance, he loved us and came to us in an overwhelmingly generous act of love: But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us" (Rom 5:8).
And you who once were alienated and hostile in mind because of evil deeds he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through his death, to present you holy, without blemish, and irreproachable before him, provided that you persevere in the faith, firmly grounded, stable, and not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard (sol 1:21-23).
In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins (1 Jn 4.910).
Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa makes the interesting point that perhaps because of the natural tendency of human reason or perhaps because of the influence of Aristotelian philosophy on the life of the Church, we have a tendency to put first the duty of us loving God, rather than the primary fact of God loving us first: "But revelation gives more importance to the second meaning; to God's love for us rather than to our love for God. Aristotle said that God moves the world in so far as he is loved, that is, in so far as he is the object of love and the final cause of all its creatures (Metaf. XII, 7, 1072b); but the Bible says the exact opposite, that God creates and moves the world in so far as he loves the world. Concerning God's love, therefore, the most important thing is not that man should love God but that God loves man and that he loved him first...Everything else depends on this including our own chance of loving God."1
For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, deluded, slaves to various desires and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful ourselves and hating one another.
But when the kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy, he saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life. This saying is trustworthy (Titus 3:3-8).
See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are (I Jn 3:1).
In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us (Eph 1:7-8).
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life (Jn 3:16).
Again, as Fr. Cantalamessa points out, drawing from the tradition of the Church: "The whole Bible, St. Augustine observes, does nothing but tell of God's love (Cat.rud. I,8,4; PL 40, 319); it is, so to say, full of it. This is the message that supports and explains all the other messages. The love of God is the answer to all the 'why's' in the Bible; the why of Creation, the why of the Incarnation, the why of Redemption...If the written word of the Bible could be changed into a spoken word and become one single voice, this voice, more powerful than the roaring of the sea would cry out: The Father loves you! (Jn 16:27). Everything that God does and says in the Bible is love, even God's anger is nothing but love. God 'is' love! It has been said that it is not so important to know whether God exists or not; what is important is to know whether he is love (Kierkegaard, The Gospel of Suffering, IV). And the Bible assures us that he is love!"2
"The whole Bible, St. Augustine observes,
does nothing but tell of God's love
... This is the message that supports
and explains all the other messages.
The love of God is the answer
to all the 'why's' in the Bible;
the why of Creation, the why of the Incarnation,
the why of Redemption
...If the written word of the Bible
could be changed into a spoken word
and become one single voice,
this voice, more powerful
than the roaring of the sea would cry out:
The Father loves you!. . ."
You were dead in your transgressions and sins in which you once lived following the age of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the disobedient. All of us once lived among them in the desires of our flesh, following the wishes-of the flesh and the impulses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved), raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast. For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them (Eph 2:110).
How extraordinary is the love of God! How undeserved, how unmerited, how generous, how far beyond what we could have asked or imagined. And we are just getting glimpses of it, although what inspired glimpses! Scripture hints about even more wonderful things unfolding in the ages to come, even greater manifestations and celebrations of the unfathomable love of God way beyond our present experience or ability to comprehend: he "raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus" (Eph 2:6-7).
Beloved, we are God's children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure (I Jn 3:2-3).
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us. For creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God . . . We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now; and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance (Rom 8:18-19, 22-25).
Something truly extraordinary has happened in the creation and redemption of the world; something truly extraordinary awaits us in the future as God prepares to manifest his gracious, saving love in amazing ways. O the depth and the riches and the greatness of the mercy and love of God!
One of the greatest depths of God's love involves his breathtaking humility.
The Humility of God
God does not force us to love him. Of course if he did, it would not really be love. He shows an immense respect for our freedom and invites but does not force. I would go so far as to say that the respect he shows us, his humility, is scandalous.
I remember as a young boy, perhaps as a pre- teen, praying that God would take away my freedom to reject him. Thanks to the grace of God working though my parents and Church, I was growing up with a genuine love for and appreciation for God, and never wanted to do anything to offend him or reject him. I was. afraid, and rightly so, of offending him or even rejecting him as I grew older. God did not grant my request and I did go through some painful times as I grew up, but I know now that unless love is freely given, it really is not love. God in his great wisdom has decided that the preciousness of love freely given outweighs the awful cost of the probable rejection of many. Freely given love must really be special for it to be worth such a risk of rejection. That is exactly what his love is like. May we recognize the holy depth of humble love revealed in the coming of Jesus!
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it... He was in the world and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.
But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man's decision but of God. And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth (Jn 1:1-5, 10-14).
May we be given the grace to weep at these words: "He was in the world and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own but his own people did not accept him. "
He wept, in love and sorrow, as he was rejected by his own. May the Spirit of God join us to him in his love and sorrow. For if we do not share his sorrow we will not share his glory. Love unites us with the Beloved in sorrow as well as in joy. It reminds me of the words of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary: Behold this heart which has so loved men, and is so little loved in return....
As he drew near, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, "If this day you only knew what makes for peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes... you did not recognize the time of your visitation " Lk. 19:41-42, 44).
The humility of God to come to his own and not overwhelm them with his divinity; the humility of God to come, showing a depth of love the world has never seen. A pure love, an unselfish love, a love that had the good of the loved at heart, a love that had treasures to share and longed to share them, a love that had eternal life to give, and wanted to give it. A love that was hidden and humble, lowly and meek; a love that could be rejected, and was, and is.
[Jesus] though he was in the form of God,did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father" (Phil 2:6 - 11).
The Father is giving a great and precious gift to the human race in the person of his Son, Jesus. A gift can be received; a gift can also be rejected. The gift is the gift of pure and holy love, of eternal love; a love stronger than death that will save all those who trust themselves to it. But Jesus can only save those who trust him, those who surrender to his love, those who accept to be loved by him. Pride often gets in the way: Jesus - fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God, rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples feet and dry them with the towel around his waist. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Master, are you going to wash my feet?" Jesus answered and said to him, What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later." Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet.. Jesus answered him, Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me. ." Simon Peter said to him, "Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well ." (Jn 13:3-9).
It is sometimes more difficult to be loved than to love, to accept love than to give love, particularly for people who pride themselves on being strong. or together.. It is humbling in a way to receive and accept love. It makes us vulnerable, revealing a need, a humanness, a lack of completeness in ourself. It also draws forth a reciprocal response that further makes us vulnerable. When Jesus approaches to love us we can feel threatened, vulnerable, and draw back or close ourselves off. We can feel fear or anxiety, dimly wondering if we can survive the surrender and the upheaval in the carefully constructed approach to life that has shaped our personality and relationships. To let go and accept being loved with the immense love of Jesus, and to love in return, is the only way of reaching heaven. In fact, it is the definition of heaven, and it needs to begin now.
Peter was humbled by Jesus' humility. Peter was not prepared to be loved in such a humble and profound way. Yet when Jesus indicated to Peter it was the only way Peter could really be connected to Jesus, Peter responded in total surrender. It was not a surrender that made him perfect; but it was a surrender that enabled him to experience being loved perfectly. Perhaps it was the memory of that love that enabled him to repent and return after his terrible fall, rather than kill himself in despair like Judas did.
It is the humble pouring out of the life of Jesus that saves the world; it is our receiving that humble love that saves us. Jesus, out of the depths of his humble love, calls out to us:
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light (Mt 11:28-30).
In the face of such love, of such mystery, of such depth, words fail us. Only love calling to love, humility to humility suffices. In fact, that is how it all began.
In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin 's name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, "Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you." But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end. " But Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no relations with a man? " And the angel said to her in reply, ""The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God. Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her (Lk 1:26-38).
Mary was afraid at the approach of Divine Love but responded to the grace God was giving her to surrender. Her whole life changed with that humble yes. And so did ours. Her heart was so full of joy and wonder at the greatness of God and the wonders of his love that she sang out in response to Elizabeth's greeting: Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled." And Mary said:"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercyis from age to age to those who fear him.He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever. (Lk. 1:45-55).
The humility of God approached the God given humility of Mary, a daughter of our race, and her response gave hope to us all.
The Example of Humble Love
The pattern of humility we see in the Divine Love is a pattern explicitly offered as a pattern that the Spirit of God in his mercy and wisdom will draw us into. What Jesus did and how he did it is intended to be an example of what the life of heaven is like and the life of the redeemer is to also become, starting already in this life.
In some of the very passages we have examined to understand better the humility of God's love we see, along with the striking descriptions, exhortations to follow the pattern ourselves now that the grace of God is at work in our life to make such humble love possible.
The striking hymn of the servanthood of Christ in Phillipians, begins with the exhortation: "Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus. (Phil 2:5).
Also, when we learn from him, who is meek and lowly of heart, what we learn is humility and meekness. Scripture also indicates that because God is giving us the grace to humble ourselves, we can "lean into" humility as it were.
But he bestows a greater grace; therefore, it says:"God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6).
So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time (1 Pet 5:6).
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted (Mt 23:12).
The pattern of humble love is to be characteristic not just of our relationship with God but of our relationships with one another. The love with which we are loved by God frees us, calls us, and empowers us to love one another.
Love One Another
The greatness of Christ's sacrifice releases a power into the lives of those in union with him that as it purifies us, frees us, and progressively enables us to grow into the pattern of his love in our relationships with others. So great is the sacrifice and the covenant made with us in his blood, so great is the power released into our lives, that Jesus speaks of a "new" commandment that summarizes what his will is for our relationships with one another: "I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (Jn 13:34-35).
As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one 's friends (Jn 15:9-13).
Jesus has taken the disciples up to the top of a high diving board and is now telling them to jump. He is telling them that they are expected now to enter into the realm of humble, steadfast, love that is characteristic of the relationships between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is inviting them to step into divine life and love, and allow the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to impart their own life and the pattern of their love to "mere mortals." The implication is that the life of discipleship, of renouncing self to take up the cross of humble, steadfast love, is the life of God himself, is the life of heaven itself. As we progressively surrender to God's love and enter into the pattern of his love in relationship with others, we are promised that our joy will be complete.
This love is neither impersonal nor inhuman. It is, when lived authentically, intensely human and intensely personal. "Agape" love is not love freed of emotion; it is love freed of impurity.
Sometimes we can have a distorted notion of what the love of God is and therefore of what our love for one another should be, a notion that is affected by the influence of Greek philosophy on certain approaches to spirituality. Properly understood, God's love is passionate and compassionate and our love for one another is to be truly human and fervent as it is pure: "The theme of the compassion of the Father disappeared from the language and conscience of the Church; it was completely disregarded...The general and inexorable process of adaptation to the culture of the time caused the Biblical idea of God's suffering to be sacrificed to the Greek idea of God's impassibility. It was also influenced by the fact that the impassibility (apatheia) became, in certain monasteries, the highest ascetic ideal, the very peak of sanctity, causing it to be supremely attributed to God. 'Thus ontological metaphysics was able to penetrate theology gradually and definitely supplanting the biblical way of thinking...The immediate consequence was that the image of God as defined by tradition took on, against the intentions of the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople, the typically Greek features of an immobile and indifferent God." (W.Kasper, Jesus der Christus, III, 1,2,Mainz, i 1974).3
St. Augustine, for all his sensitivity of conscience and ideal of high holiness, very early on reacted against a certain interpretation of the Greek ideal of apatheia - freedom from passion. He saw the progress of the Christian life as rightly ordering our passions, not destroying them: "If apatheia suggests an absence of all affection, all emotional life, it is worse than sin. "4
Augustine pointed out that Christ experienced all human emotions - sorrow, fear, compassion, love, delight - fully and really and declared that those who think they have put emotion behind them "have lost the fulness of their humanity rather than attaining real peace. Do you imagine, brothers, that people who fear God have no emotions?" 5
Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold onto what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor (Rom 12:9-10).
I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love (Eph 4:1-2).
The aim of this instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith (I 1:5).
Since you have purified yourselves by obedience to the truth for sincere mutual love, love one another intensely from a pure heart (IPet 1:22).
Even the Spanish mystics, John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila, well known for their intensive treatment of the purification needed in order to be fully united with God, also speak of the intensity of human love that should flow from a pure heart. As Fr. Dubay puts it in his commentary on their work: "A burning love for -God does imply and bring about a disappearance of self-centered clingings and egoisms, but it does not destroy the reciprocity of interpersonal human love. On the contrary, divine love intensifies human love. Reality, another name for sanctity, is an integrated whole: everything fits with and reinforces everything else. Truth is indeed symphonic." 6
C.S. Lewis makes the same point in his typically breathtakingly insightful way: "When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now. In so far as I learn to love my earthly dearest at the expense of God and instead of God, I shall be moving toward the state in which I shall not love my earthly dearest at all. When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased."7
"When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest,
I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now.
In so far as I learn to love my earthly dearest at the expense of God
and instead of God, I shall be moving toward
the state in which I shall not love my earthly dearest at all.
When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased."
- C.S. Lewis
Love, Poured Into Our Hearts
We, on our own, cannot love like this. And we would have a nervous breakdown if we tried. But the love of God himself, infinite love, abundant love, is poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access (by faith) to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us (Rom 5:1-5).
I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them (Jn 17:26).
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Eph 3:14-19).
The love, with which we are loved, the love which has come to dwell and abide in us and with us, Christ himself, who is love and the source of all love, gives us the strength to love, to forgive, to be forgiven, and to keep on loving. We need to know with what love we are loved in order to be able to love as Christ commands us. Once we know that love, and keep knowing that love, abiding in that love, in union with Christ, we can then be guided, motivated, strengthened, encouraged, consoled, and empowered by it.
But as it is written:
"What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard,and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him,"this God has revealed to us through the Spirit (1 Cor 2:9-10).
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a
grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection (sol 3:12-14).
Your love is before my eyes; I walk guided by your faithfulness (Ps 26:3).
l will rejoice and be glad in your love (Ps 31:8).
Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but love surrounds those who trust in the Lord (Ps 32:10).
How precious is your love, O God! We take refuge in the shadow of your wings (Ps 36:8).
Once we know the riches and treasures, the steadfastness, purity, and power of God's love for us, we can then love what that love loves, genuinely, from the heart.
Rather than love money, wickedness, places of honor, the appearance of being good, the praises of men, once we know with what love we are being loved, we can love goodness, the praise that comes from God, his kingdom, his name, his will, his people, his word, his truth, his judgments, his commands, his ways (see Ps 119:97, 119, 127, 167).
Only when we know how we are loved can we definitively turn from the "sin that clings so closely" in the deepest recesses of our mind, heart, emotions and will, and love goodness and hate wickedness. The secret tolerance of wickedness, affection for wickedness, indulged attraction to wickedness can only be broken by the love that sets us free. Only when we have confidence that the eternal love calling us to surrender far surpasses the secret attraction of sin and its false but powerful allure will we have the freedom and courage really to break with it, burn our bridges, and put it to death.
Only when we know something of the depth of the love with which we are loved can we trust that in all the circumstances of life, even the most difficult, and seemingly most tragic, Love will find a way to bring victory out of apparent defeat: Be not afraid of sudden terror, of the ruin of the wicked when it comes; For the Lord will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from the snare (Prov 3:25-26).
I was very touched a few years ago when Cardinal Suenens sent me a copy of a short spiritual autobiography he had written, which, as he prepared for death, sums up the spiritual lessons he has learned over a long lifetime of following the Lord: "At 86 years, the Eternal tomorrow is near...I am experiencing again today my childhood intuition, which understood, from life's very start, how transient it is, and that only eternal life is really life.
"This life of tomorrow will be the definite entry
into the Kingdom of God where all is light, love and tenderness
...As death approaches, I see on every page of my life a watermark,
so to say, that shows how the attentive Love of God
has watched over my daily goings and comings,
so much is it true that what we called
chance or coincidental circumstances were but Providence
at work with infinite delicacy...
As a farewell to those who read this booklet,
I should like to say to them:
The secret of Christian life and of its serenity is nothing else
but total and trusting abandonment to the indefectible Love of God,
in all circumstances.and ALL means ALL THANK YOU, LORD
For YESTERDAY, for TODAY, for TOMORROW." 8
Ralph Martin is the Director of Renewal Ministries.
1 Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, Life in the Lordship of Christ, (Kansas City: Sheed and Ward, 1990) p3.
2 Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, Life in the Lordship ofChrist, (Kansas City: Sheed and Ward, 1990) pp3-4.
3 Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, Life in the Lordship of Christ, (Kansas City: Sheed and Ward, 1990) pp. 107-108.
4 Augustine, Confessions, 15:9
5 Augustine, Confessions, 15:9
6 Fr. Thomas Dubay, S.M., Fire Within, (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1989),p.277.
7 C.S. Lewis, " Letter to a Lady," in W. H. Lewis, ed., Letters of C. S. Lewis, p. 248; cited in: Fr. Thomas Dubay, S.M., Fire Within, (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1989),p.286.
8 Cardinal Suenens, "Spiritual Journey, " (Gravenplein: F.I.A.T. Publications, 1990) pp.63-71.
Copyright 1995 by Ralph Martin All rights reserved. Used by permission of the author
P.O. Box 8229
Ann Arbor, MI 48107
The text of this booklet is adapted from Ralph Martin's book, T he Catholic Church at the End of an Age: What is the Spirit Saying?, copyright 1994 by Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA.
Scripture texts used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, copyright 1991, 1986, 1970 by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC 20017-1194 and are used by permission of copyright owner. All rights reserved.
The Lord himself urges you: Don't wait another day. Don't wait another hour. Wherever you are right this moment, whatever you're doing, whatever time it may be, open your heart to the the love of God in the Lord Jesus Christ. Here is a simple prayer you can pray:
Lord Jesus Christ, I want to know your love for me and belong to you from now on. I want to be freed from the dominion of darkness and the rule of Satan, and I want to enter into your kingdom and be part of your people. I will turn away from all wrongdoing, and I will avoid everything that leads me to wrongdoing. I ask you to forgive all the sins that I have committed I offer my life to you, and I promise to obey you as my Lord I ask you to release in my life the full power and grace of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Talk to someone about being a Christian. Find a church so you can find friends and encouragement to live as a Christian. Begin to read Scripture and to talk to God in prayer daily. He loves you and wants you to know Him!
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