Fr John’s Letter – 6th June 2020

Dear parishioners of St Anne’s and St Jerome’s

God so loved the World, that He gave His only Son’

The Feast of the Most Blessed Trinity which we celebrate today, finds it’s perfect expression in the words above, taken from the Gospel reading for today’s Mass. ‘God is Love’. Here is the heart of everything. It sums up the entire Gospel, the whole of religion. It sounds magnificent, so simple. Yet such simplicity unsettles us. The longer we stay with this statement, ponder it, the more uncomfortable we become. 

Why? There is not much to it is there? God is Love! How is it possible for such a beautiful statement to trouble us? The answer lies within. Our human nature is anything but simple. It is complex, ambiguous, with its lights and shadows. Isn’t love conditional, fragile, uncertain? A loving God? Tragedies, Virus, young deaths? Too many questions! Perhaps ‘God is Love ‘ is a little naive?

The world in which we live has a hard time with love. It yearns for it, speaks of it, looks for it. But in our culture it is status, reward, possessions that matter. These are highly prized. So love, it seems, like everything else has to be earned. A commodity. It can come and go. Other things seem to matter more.
It is a very mixed and variable picture of course. But this seems to be the overriding impression as we look around us.

These ideas are ingrained in us all as people of our time. So when we ponder the love of God, we bring all this baggage with us. But, in contrast, the Gospel is uncompromising in its demands; we are to forgive seventy times seven, we are to turn the other cheek, we are to love our neighbour as ourselves. How is it possible to love like this?

Our formation as Christians has not always helped us. Too often, distorted ideas and emphases have been embedded into our minds; fear, anxiety, images of a distant and stern deity. These thoughts and impressions can be raw or subtle, but they amount to the same reality; when I think of God, it is not love that comes to mind straightaway!

So let us consider this; we do not have to make sense of God, we have to experience Him. We do not have to understand God, we have to open ourselves to Him. If God is Love, then He loved me first. When we feel that we are loved, when we are secure in that love, then it is easy to love. Do I feel the love that God has for me, am I secure in that love? This is the real question. 

Where do I go to find this love? How do I open myself to it? Not outside of ourselves, but within. There the God of love waits for us. There He speaks, acts, invites us to listen and rest with Him. There is the Trinity of Persons; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In moments of silence, sincere heartfelt conversation with our Father, we wake up to the presence of God within us. Love begins here. We find it here. We open up to it here. Only then do we realise that we are not strangers, outcasts, inferiors. We belong. We are loved. Our existence is willed and unique. Each one of us!

If God lives in me, then He lives in every person. When I learn to reverence Him within myself, then I will learn to reverence Him in each and every person I meet. Every person!

For a moment, let us look at this amazing truth. Each one of us is loved; unconditionally, freely, eternally. We need to do nothing to earn it. It is freely given. We are necessary, we have a place in our Father’s Heart. God is Love. He gave up His only Son for us. It is that simple, that uncomplicated. Such love is worthy of our love. Always.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

God bless you all!

Father John