Sunday, September 13, 2009

"Courage to Accept Acceptance"

I have begun today a 34-week online retreat offered by the Collaborative Ministry Office at my alma mater, Creighton University. Among the suggested readings is an excerpt from the book As Bread That Is Broken by Peter G. van Breemen, S.J. (Dimension Books, Inc., 1974) I was struck by this passage:

    How often have we been told that it is important that we love God. And this is true. But is it far more important that God loves us! Our love for God is secondary. God's love for us is first: "This is the love I mean: not our love for God, but God's love for us" (1 John 4:10). This is the foundation. Karl Rahner once made the remark that we live in a time when there is much interest in Church politics (e.g. the pill, the reform of the curia, celibate priesthood). This may be the sign of a deep faith. It can also be the sign of a lack of faith. The basic faith is that I know myself to be accepted by God: "We ourselves have known and put our faith in God's love towards ourselves" (1 John 4:16). This is the content of our faith--"God's love towards ourselves." The whole Apostles' Creed is nothing but a statement twelve times over of belief in this very love which God has for us.

Interesting to reflect on the idea that my love for God is secondary. From the earliest days of Catholic catechism we were taught, in answer to the question "Why was I created?", "I was created to love God with my whole heart, my whole soul, and my whole mind." Which, even as a child, seemed an unsatisfactory answer. For one thing, it reflects rather poorly on the Creator, I think. The passage from van Breemen's book suggests something new to me. Which, I suppose, one must expect from a retreat.

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