Divine Love

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.?This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  (JN 15:9,12)

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.?This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  (JN 15:9,12)

Love is a word so casually used in our English language that it has lost its force and meaning.  For example, one can hear a person say they love NASCAR or they love their wife with the same tone and inflection as if they are as passionate about one as the other.  Yet, isn’t there a distinction to be made in the kind of love we are talking about?

In Greek there are four basic words for love that distinguish the kinds of love we encounter in our human experience:  family love, friendship, desire, and Divine love.  The word used to distinguish Divine love - agape - was chosen by the New Testament writers because it was rarely used in the Greek language and they wanted to emphasize the unique nature of the love Christ had come to reveal and share.  

Divine love’s primary characteristic is revealed in the person of Jesus Christ and the Cross.  There we see the self-emptying and self-sacrifice of Christ “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,  but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:6-8).    

Through the cross we are reconciled to God and offered the gift of Grace.   And through the gift of Grace we are moved and called to love God and neighbor in a spirit of sacrifice and service.  In turn all human loves are to be infused by (agape) Divine love:  our family relationships grow to include all as brothers and sisters in Christ.  Friendships are to be rooted in our primary friendship with God.  Desire is directed first toward union with God which transforms all other human relationships.  

We must remember that Grace is a gift; through it our share of Divine love and our ability to live or abide in that love is a gift to be nurtured throughout our lives in worship and prayer - especially in the greatest gift Jesus entrusted to His Church - the Mass or Holy Eucharist - the gift of His Body and Blood under the forms of bread and wine.  (“Amen, Amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.  For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” JN 6:53-56).   

May all our loves be rooted in the Divine source - Jesus Christ - and transformed by His Grace.