With regularity the topic of love, especially God’s Love for us, comes up in our C.C.D. class. My wife and I co-teach the seventh and eighth grades in a combined class. We stress that Love is a decision not a feeling. In doing so we try to combat what the media portrays as love. The kids are at the gateway of leaving behind childhood and taking their first steps toward being adults. As such we feel it is vital to arm them with a true meaning of what Love is as opposed to all the false mimics of the world.
As a husband and a father I also know that Love can be a feeling. I am blessed with a wonderful wife. We recently celebrated thirty years of marriage. We have eight children on Earth and one already in God’s hands (we call her Kateri, she was lost very early in the pregnancy). My wife and children give me all I need for Joy and Fulfillment despite the world doing its best to bring despair and fear.
For years I heard that I had to love God more than my wife and my children and even more than myself. Loving God more than myself was not too big a deal, sometimes I got really down on myself. But once I got married I was the happiest man in the world. Before the wedding people asked if I was nervous. My response was, “NO – I’m doing what I want to do most in the world!” Later holding our first child, a daughter, in my arms I was lifted so high with joy and a sense of fulfillment that I doubted it was possible to feel happier. That feeling may have lessened a bit with the other children but not by much.
When my kids ran up to me and hugged me when I came home, Love was a feeling. At those times my joy with my wife and kids was so profound, that I could not honestly say that I loved God more than them. This did bother me for years but it was a fact. In prayer I would talk to God about it and admit it to Him. Why lie, He knows everything!
During Advent years ago I was able to sit in church in the evening all alone. The church was dark except for the small light on the crèche. I knelt in the front row directly in front of the crèche and just stared at the scene. A sense of peace enveloped me and that peace filled me with the joy I received from my wife and children. My mind raced, Thank You Jesus for coming to save me. Thank You for COMING TO SAVE MY WIFE AND KIDS!
Inside my mind the lights came on.
I had every reason to love God more than my wife and kids because He saved them in a way I could never do.
In the past three months we have been to three funerals of friends and relatives. The past year would add another three if we count the funerals that have touched close friends and colleagues. Such things happen in life and of course you think about the inevitable for you and your family. Saint Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in thee.” I pray that someday my wife, children and I will all rest together in God. Contemplating on that thought brings peace and fulfillment. My wife and children will be totally safe, that is all I want. I will be totally safe. Thank You God! The possibility of losing my wife and kids before I die is too much to think about until I concentrate on their Hope, which is Jesus who said, “I go to prepare a place for you.”
So Love can be a feeling that is best described for me as fulfillment of my deepest desire, which is grounded in the Hope of Jesus and His promise. That desire is to share eternal peace with my family and friends in heaven with God.