A 14 Day Meditation on the Love of God
God Loved You First
You were made to experience God’s Love
Lord, you are always there
Come with me in my waking
Go with me everywhere.
Lord, your Hand will lead me
Your light will show me the way
Come be in my thinking
Be my guide today.
“For God demonstrated His love to us in this, that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
In this passage, God reveals an awesome truth–that God’s love for us is not tied to our being good people. In fact, he did not wait around for us to become God before He loved us. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Look up the dictionary definition of the word “sinner” and you will find some interesting synonyms–“wrong-doer”, “evil-doer”, “miscreant”, “reprovate”, “criminal”.
These aren’t the only definitions we can mention for sinner, either. How about “loser”, “lazy”, “crazy”, “addicted,” “overly impulsive,” “worthless,” or just plain “wrong?”
Chances are sometime in your life, you have been called some of these names. You may have even used them in your own head to describe yourself.
Many people sincerely believe that in order for God to love them, they have to stop being sinners. Psalm 66:18 is often misinterpreted when it says “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” But the Psalmist is talking about those who bring their formal sacrifices to the temple deceitfully, he is not talking about every sinner everywhere, or even how God regards them.
God’s love is not based on your performance, but on His desire to meet you where your are.
Christ sent his Son to us, even to die for us, because God’s love and desire for us is so profound.
Don’t ever think that God does not love you, or that you have become so bad that He will not forgive. He has clearly shown us that he really does love us, even with all our faults and failings. Rejoice in God’s amazing love.
St Francis of Assisi
There is probably no saint after the apostles who have been more beloved by so many as St. Francis. It is surprising then to realize that he began his life as an spoiled rich son of an Italian cloth merchant.
After a life of soldiering, partying and debauchery, he was taken wounded and taken prisoner about 1202. After his return, he experience a series of visions that led him to seek Christ alone. He devoted himself to a simple lifestyle. When his friends asked him if he would ever be married, Francis answered “Yes, to a fairer bride than you will ever have–lady poverty.”
Francis renounced his rich lifestyle in favor of a radical devotion to Jesus. This led him start three monastic order and become a missionary to the Muslim during the crusades. Upon his return, he organized the first live nativity pageant in history in his home church in Assisi.
Francis’ life was an example of radical love of God, based in a radical knowledge of God’s radical love of him.
Contemporary accounts of St. Francis tell that because of his fervent love of Christ and meditations on the Cross, he was given a stigmata, or wounds in his hands and feet where the nails had pierced Christ. Whether this was miraculous or some psychosomatic phenomenon we cannot say, but it speaks of the depths of his empathetic love of the Lord.
Francis saw God’s love everywhere–in the Word, in prayer, in Word and in all of nature. He is known for his love of nature and animals. He wrote prayers of thanks for all God’s creatures.
“Praise be to you, My Lord, for all your creatures, especially Sir Brother Sun, who is the day who gives us light. And he is radiant in splendor, in which He bears your likeness.”
“Praise be to you, My Lord, for sister, mother Earth, who gives us flowers and herbs.”
Some have mistakenly suggested that Francis worshiped nature. Francis vehemently denied this. St. Francis did not love nature–he loved God through nature. His eyes were to attuned to detect God everywhere, that there was nowhere He did not see Him. All good things in life pointed back to God.
Today’s Exercise–Covered in His Love
Lay alone in your bed. As you do, pull the blanket up around you. Imagine the lblanket to be God’s love, covering you like a blanket. Wherever you go during the day, when you return to God, His blanket of love is still waiting for you there. Fix the image of the blanket in your mind as you go out into this day, and realize you are covered by the blanket of God’s love.
Loving God, Who gave us the gift of your presence and forgiveness through the sacrifice of Your son, grant us eyes to see and experience your divine love in the world around us. Show us the sins of your generosity and care in the ordinary things of life, and make us forever grateful, in Jesus' Name, Amen.