Love always wants to share itself.
This is surely why God chose to create, God, who is love, making planets and black holes and galaxy clusters, and bestowing his very self upon every microscopic atom of the exhaustive creation he had made.
What a privilege for us, what a gift. Surely this would have been enough.
But planets and asteroids could not receive God actively. They could not decide to let God in and then willingly love God in return. Their reception was passive, a relishment of their rough, craggy existence, being exactly what they were (are) created to be, but no more.
So God thought up a miraculously intricate trail by which something called life could come about. He chose a diminutive blue planet circulating insignificantly around a small star in what some folks would call the Milky Way, millions of years later. It was a new beginning.
It was Life. Life eked its way out of the seas and onto shore. And then into trees, skies, rocky shores and more. It took as its home the highest mountains, the coldest high specks of space, the hottest flaming deserts, and even the deepest oceans. God loved this abundant "Life" in the way a mother loves her children.
If you could have taken one look at the dinosaurs and apes and fishes and birds, you would have seen that these miraculous creations would have been enough. They were alive. What a delight. And God enwrapped them in love, a love in which they basked without knowing it.
So there was still more room. God’s overflow of love sought out more space for being received.
A very interesting thing happened. God scooped out an openness in some living creatures so that they could actively receive the affectionate love that God was bestowing upon them, and now could return love to God.
As a result, the human race—slowly, cumbrously—doddered into being. Don’t ask me the number of Cro-Magnon species that came to be, or how hunting turned into farming and cooking, how weaving and building and fences and fire came onto the scene. They did. And God took time to deepen within humans a spiritual hollow by which they could actually, even in fear and distraction, receive God’s Glory. Not passively like a rock receives the sun, but actively and knowingly, welcoming unto themselves the gratuity of God’s life, love and presence.
We are those human beings. Each of us is able to open up, wading at the apex of such a long history of God's love for us.
Advent is a treasured time to ask quietly, humbly, how we will love in return.
Will we take time to treasure the openness deep within? Will we let it thrive? It would mean bringing patience to bear on our nervous, ever worrisome life, letting God’s presence be enough when we can. Presently, we are called to a way of patient listening and waiting instead of simply “going to church.”
Would that be enough?
What if God’s tender love wanted to make its way out of the church and into the world? Wouldn’t it start (or continue) with the birth of the child Jesus? And wouldn’t we carry such love, now within our hearts, out to the whole world?
You are invited to email a note to the
author of this reflection:
Fr. John Foley, SJ