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The Pretense of Love


February 19, 2019

God created man because of His love for us. He wanted us to see His infinite goodness, but He also wanted us to have the opportunity to be with Him in Heaven for all eternity. Yes, these thoughts are the same basic ones which young children are taught as they prepare for their First Holy Communion and First Confession.

So why is it that one has the desire to constantly complicate the simple. The answer is rather simple, also. One does not love God as much as he should and allows his will to interfere with God’s Will. Far too many do not realize this and others are really good at denying it.

In creating man God did not make life so complicated that it would be overly difficult or mysterious in order to save one’s soul. Man has been allowed himself to be fooled into thinking there is something more or greater than loving God in all of its simplicity. Spiritual traps and distractions of this world prove a constant smokescreen for far too many otherwise good people. The end result is that Love is not loved as God desires of us.

When Love is not loved it brings with it a host of crosses and burdens that would otherwise not be there. One becomes his own worst enemy. The tragedy of this thought is that most are truly unaware of the effect it has upon life which often turns one away from our True Love. This is, indeed, the greatest of mistakes in this life, for one has been created to first love God above all else. God makes our desire to love Him simple, but man has mostly complicated this because he has a conflict. He must choose between God and His creation, whether it be other people or things that ultimately provides a fatal distraction from the reason for our creation.

True love of God requires among other things the need to be selfless. One must consider himself last among God and men. This is not easily accomplished unless the person is blessed with supernatural grace. If one makes use of this supernatural aid, then loving God is not only easy, but quite desirable.

Religious life provides one with the best possible conditions to express a proper love of God. The vocation of the religious is to focus ALL of their efforts on God, the Faith and salvation of souls. The hours of meditation over many years allows the disposed soul to unite himself with his Creator. The spiritual union which may result from these efforts is an excellent example of the desired love of God for which one has been created.

The Catholic priest at the altar is in the best possible position to express his love for God in a manner that few are otherwise unable to do. He offers Holy Mass and renews the Eternal Sacrifice which is the single greatest act of love for man. Assuming the best possible disposition of the priest, he is able to receive a superabundant amount of grace thus making it possible to unite himself ever so closely with Our Lord. There have been a number of saintly priests who have shed tears of joy while at the altar, thus expressing their love of God while offering the greatest Act of Love in this life.

Another of those comparatively unknown or misguided aspects of this life is that one has been created to love and to be loved. Sin and bad judgment often get in the way of a soul living a happy, peaceful life, i.e., one that is the state of supernatural grace as a result of this truth.

The sins of the Sixth and Ninth Commandments are a testament to man’s failures. These sins are perhaps the best example of man’s selfishness. They are all about satisfying his lower passions which are in fact an expression of guttural selfishness. Some will believe this is an example of self-love but is actually an act of self-hate. Why self-hate? The person who has little regard for his soul does not truly love himself. This may not be consciously realized but does describe why a person acts in this manner.

One is able to confuse himself in such a way so as to fool or trick the mind and heart. Why else would one do these sinful things and try to justify these spiritual acts of treason? Simply, he confuses the true love of oneself and the hatred of oneself. How does this confusion occur? Because he does not know God. He does not have a true love of his Creator.

This is a sad and unfortunate thing, but it has been the core struggle of man since the Fall. Were not Adam and Eve fooled because of selfishness? Are not souls ensnared do to a misguided love of oneself?

There is a basic principle in the spiritual life. It is to know oneself. The tragedy of far too many is that they do not know themselves and they do not realize that they do not know themselves. Therefore, they easily and continually fall into one spiritual trap after another.

Perhaps the most common example of this type of mistake are those people who make the error of marrying the wrong person or of marrying at all. Those who make this mistake usually allow their emotions (or their passions) to guide them. Rarely is one able to make a good and proper decision under these conditions.

If one desires to love God above all else, he must make God the top priority in his life. Nothing else must supersede God regardless of its importance or priority. If this is accomplished than loving one’s neighbor (everyone else) will be easy and very much desired. The problems of married life would be greatly reduced and family life would be quite peaceful and happy.

Love is the most talked and sung about topic in the world, but is the most difficult aspect of our lives to properly accomplish. God has made loving Him and one’s neighbor an easy thing to accomplish. Man, though, has complicated this part of one’s life because of selfishness. If you are earnest in your desire to know how much you love God examine your selfishness and you will find the answer. Empty your being of all selfishness and you will find plenty of room for loving God.

Fr. Joseph Noonan, OFM