There comes a time when we realize that God truly loves us. God loves us perfectly, endlessly, unconditionally and without fail. God loves us whether we are good or bad, whether we believe or we doubt, whether we are the prodigal son who wastes his inheritance or the elder son who fails to realize his father’s love. God has loved us even before we were born, He loves us now and He always will.
The father of the prodigal son never stopped loving him even when he was lost. If he had stopped loving, he would not have waited for him.
I wait for souls, and they are indifferent toward Me. I love them tenderly and sincerely, and they distrust Me. I want to lavish My graces on them, and they do not want to accept them. They treat Me as a dead object, whereas My Heart is full of love and mercy. In order that you may know at least some of My pain, imagine the most tender of mothers who has great love for her children, while those children spurn her love. Consider her pain. No one is in a position to console her. This is but a feeble image and likeness of My love. – Divine Mercy in My Soul 1447
This love does not mean however that we will never suffer because of our sins. The prodigal son suffered much, did he not? He suffered so badly for as long as he chose to be away from his father. But when he returned, he was welcomed with open arms and loved as though he never sinned at all.
“But while he was still far off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” – Luke 15:20, WEB
With My mercy, I pursue sinners along all their paths, and My Heart rejoices when they return to Me . I forget the bitterness with which they fed My Heart and rejoice at their return… Tell sinners that I am always waiting for them, that I listen intently to the beating of their heart… when will it beat for Me? Write, that I am speaking to them through their remorse of conscience, through their failures and sufferings, through thunderstorms, through the voice of the Church. – Divine Mercy in My Soul 1728
God not only waits. He pursues us!
When Jesus speaks in his parables of the shepherd who goes after the lost sheep, of the woman who looks for the lost coin, of the father who goes to meet and embrace his prodigal son, these are no mere words: they constitute an explanation of his very being and activity. His death on the Cross is the culmination of that turning of God against himself in which he gives himself in order to raise man up and save him. This is love in its most radical form. – Deus Caritas Est-Encyclical Letter, Benedict XVI
THE LOST SHEEP
He told them this parable. “Which of you men, if you had one hundred sheep, and lost one of them, wouldn’t leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one that was lost, until he found it? When he has found it, he carries it on his shoulders, rejoicing. When he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbours, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I tell you that even so there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance. – LUKE 15:3-7, WEB-BE
THE LOST COIN
Or what woman, if she had ten drachma coins, if she lost one drachma coin, wouldn’t light a lamp, sweep the house, and seek diligently until she found it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbours, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the drachma which I had lost.’ Even so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner repenting.” – LUKE 15:8-10, WEB-BE
“Therefore behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her.
I will give her vineyards from there,
and the valley of Achor for a door of hope;
and she will respond there,
as in the days of her youth,
and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.
It will be in that day,” says the LORD,
“that you will call me ‘my husband,’
and no longer call me ‘my master.’
-HOSEA 2:14-16, WEB-BE
It’s Jesus’ home and Jesus welcomes [all]. But not only does He welcome, He goes out to see people just as He went out to find this man. And if people are hurt, what does Jesus do? Scold them because they are hurt? No, He comes and He carries them on His shoulders. – Pope Francis
“We are all sinners. But God heals us with an abundance of grace, mercy and tenderness.” – Pope Francis
This does not mean also that God could never get angry. But anger doesn’t necessarily mean the absence of love. On the contrary, it could very well be the opposite as when a mother gets angry when a child does something that could harm him!
Tell them, As I live, says the Lord Yahweh, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn, turn from your evil ways; for why will you die, house of Israel? – Ezekiel 33:11, WEB
Because God made not death;
Neither delights he when the living perish:
For he created all things that they might have being:
And the generative powers of the world are healthsome,
And there is no poison of destruction in them:
Nor has Hades royal dominion upon earth,
For righteousness is immortal:
But ungodly men by their hands and their words called death to them:
Deeming him a friend they consumed away,
And they made a covenant with him,
Because they are worthy to be of his portion.
-WISDOM 1:13-16, WEB-BE
“For a small moment I have forsaken you;
but with great mercies will I gather you.
In overflowing wrath I hid my face from you for a moment;
but with everlasting loving kindness I will have mercy on you,” says the LORD your Redeemer.
“For this is like the waters of Noah to me;
for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah will no more go over the earth,
so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.
For the mountains may depart,
and the hills be removed;
but my loving kindness will not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace will not be removed,”
says the LORD who has mercy on you.
-ISAIAH 54:7-10, WEB-BE
He who doesn’t love doesn’t know God, for God is love. – 1 John 4:8
God IS Love. God will always be love and will never cease from being love!
“God loved us before he made us; and his love has never diminished and never shall.” – Julian of Norwich
God loves us… always. God loves us when we repent of our sins, but He loved us and died for us even while we were dead in our sins.
7For one will hardly die for a righteous man. Yet perhaps for a righteous person someone would even dare to die. 8But God commends his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:7-8, WEB
For God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him. – John 3:17, WEB
But God, being rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus… – Ephesians 2:4-7, WEB
God’s passionate love for his people—for humanity—is at the same time a forgiving love. It is so great that it turns God against himself, his love against his justice. Here Christians can see a dim prefigurement of the mystery of the Cross: so great is God’s love for man that by becoming man he follows him even into death, and so reconciles justice and love. – Deus Caritas Est-Encyclical Letter, Benedict XVI
God is perfect and His love is perfect even when we are not. He always does what is good, both towards the good and the bad.
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, don’t resist him who is evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 If anyone sues you to take away your coat, let him have your cloak also. 41 Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and don’t turn away him who desires to borrow from you.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? 47 If you only greet your friends, what more do you do than others? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. – Matthew 5:38-48, WEB
Again this is not to say that God will never render justice, for sin is sin and He never wants us to remain in sin and reap its consequences. But God is patient and gentle even to those who sin. He does everything to save sinners, that they may turn away from evil and return to the right path. Consider how Jesus treated the woman caught in adultery.
10 Jesus, standing up, saw her and said, “Woman, where are your accusers? Did no one condemn you?”
11 She said, “No one, Lord.”
Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way. From now on, sin no more.”
-John 8:10-11, WEB
Let us … remember Peter: three times he denied Jesus, precisely when he should have been closest to him; and when he hits bottom he meets the gaze of Jesus who patiently, wordlessly, says to him: “Peter, don’t be afraid of your weakness, trust in Me.” Peter understands, he feels the loving gaze of Jesus and he weeps. How beautiful is this gaze of Jesus — how much tenderness is there! Brothers and sisters, let us never lose trust in the patience and mercy of God! – Pope Francis
“Some of us believe that God is almighty, and can do everything; and that he is all wise, and may do everything; but that he is all love, and will do everything— there we draw back.” – Julian of Norwich
It is not because I have been preserved from mortal sin that I lift up my heart to God in trust and love. I feel that even had I on my conscience every crime one could commit, I should lose nothing of my confidence: my heart broken with sorrow, I would throw myself into the Arms of my Saviour. I know that He loves the Prodigal Son, I have heard His words to St. Mary Magdalen, to the woman taken in adultery, and to the woman of Samaria. No one could frighten me, for I know what to believe concerning His Mercy and His Love. And I know that all that multitude of sins would disappear in an instant, even as a drop of water cast into a flaming furnace. – St. Therese of Lisieux
For the Lord is sweet, his mercy endureth for ever, and his truth to generation and generation. – Psalm 100:5, DRA
He hath not dealt with us according to our sins: nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For according to the height of the heaven above the earth: he hath strengthened his mercy towards them that fear him. – Psalm 103:10-11
But you are a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness, and didn’t forsake them. Yes, when they had made themselves a molten calf, and said, ‘This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt,’ and had committed awful blasphemies; yet you in your manifold mercies didn’t forsake them in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud didn’t depart from over them by day, to lead them in the way; neither did the pillar of fire by night, to show them light, and the way in which they should go. You gave also your good Spirit to instruct them, and didn’t withhold your manna from their mouth, and gave them water for their thirst.
“Yes, forty years you sustained them in the wilderness. They lacked nothing. Their clothes didn’t grow old, and their feet didn’t swell. Moreover you gave them kingdoms and peoples, which you allotted according to their portions. So they possessed the land of Sihon, even the land of the king of Heshbon, and the land of Og king of Bashan. You also multiplied their children as the stars of the sky, and brought them into the land concerning which you said to their fathers, that they should go in to possess it.
“So the children went in and possessed the land, and you subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gave them into their hands, with their kings and the peoples of the land, that they might do with them as they pleased. They took fortified cities and a rich land, and possessed houses full of all good things, cisterns dug out, vineyards, and olive groves, and fruit trees in abundance. So they ate, were filled, became fat, and delighted themselves in your great goodness.”
-NEHEMIAH 9:17-25, WEB-BE
God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the vine?”
He said, “I am right to be angry, even to death.”
The LORD said, “You have been concerned for the vine, for which you have not laboured, neither made it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night. Shouldn’t I be concerned for Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who can’t discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much livestock?”
-JONAH 4:9-11, WEB-BE
It seems to me that if everyone were to receive such favours God would be feared by none, but loved to excess; that no one would ever commit the least wilful fault—and this through love, not fear. Yet all souls cannot be alike. It is necessary that they should differ from one another in order that each Divine Perfection may receive its special honour. To me, He has given His Infinite Mercy, and it is in this ineffable mirror that I contemplate his other attributes. Therein all appear to me radiant with Love. His Justice, even more perhaps than the rest, seems to me to be clothed with Love. What joy to think that Our Lord is just, that is to say, that He takes our weakness into account, that He knows perfectly the frailty of our nature! Of what, then, need I be afraid? Will not the God of Infinite Justice, Who deigns so lovingly to pardon the sins of the Prodigal Son, be also just to me “who am always with Him”? – St. Therese of Lisieux
“We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son.” (Pope St. John Paul II, World Youth Day 2002, Closing Homily)
“Christ says: I know you through and through – I know everything about you. The very hairs of your head I have numbered. Nothing in your life is unimportant to me, I have followed you through the years, and I have always loved you – even in your wanderings.
I know every one of your problems. I know your need and your worries. And yes, I know all your sins. But I tell you again that I love you – not for what you have or haven’t done – I love you for you, for the beauty and dignity my Father gave you by creating you in his own image.”
― Mother Teresa, The Joy in Loving: A Guide to Daily Living
The Mother of fair love will rid your heart of all scruples and inordinate servile fear. She will open and enlarge it to obey the commandments of her Son with alacrity and with the holy freedom of the children of God. She will fill your heart with pure love of which she is the treasury. You will then cease to act as you did before, out of fear of the God who is love, but rather out of pure love. You will look upon him as a loving Father and endeavour to please him at all times. You will speak trustfully to him as a child does to its father. If you should have the misfortune to offend him you will abase yourself before him and humbly beg his pardon. You will offer your hand to him with simplicity and lovingly rise from your sin. Then, peaceful and relaxed and buoyed up with hope you will continue on your way to him. -St. Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary
You do not have enough trust. You have too much fear before the good God. I can assure you that He is grieved over this. You should not fear Purgatory because of the suffering there, but should instead ask that you not deserve to go there in order to please God, Who so reluctantly imposes this punishment. As soon as you try to please Him in everything and have an unshakable trust He purifies you every moment in His love and He lets no sin remain. And then you can be sure that you will not have to go to Purgatory. – St. Therese of Lisieux
…I received a deeper understanding of divine mercy. Only that soul who wants it will be damned, for God condemns no one. – St. Faustina (Diary, 1452)
Damnation is for the soul who wants to be damned; but for the one who desires salvation, there is the inexhaustible ocean of the Lord’s mercy to draw from. – St. Faustina (Diary, 631)
Love casts out fear. Since I came to love God with my whole being and with all the strength of my heart, fear has left me. Even if I were to hear the most terrifying things about God’s justice, I would not fear Him at all, because I have come to know Him well. God is love, and His Spirit is peace. I see now that my deeds which have flowed from love are more perfect than those which I have done out of fear. – St. Faustina (Diary, 589)
Write this for the benefit of distressed souls: when a soul sees and realizes the gravity of its sins, when the whole abyss of the misery into which it immersed itself is displayed before its eyes, let it not despair, but with trust let it throw itself into the arms of My mercy, as a child into the arms of its beloved mother. These souls have a right of priority to My compassionate Heart, they have first access to My mercy. Tell them that no soul that has called upon My mercy has been disappointed or brought to shame. I delight particularly in a soul which has placed its trust in My goodness. – Jesus (Diary, 1541)
My child, all your sins have not wounded My Heart as painfully as your present lack of trust does that after so many efforts of My love and mercy, you should still doubt My goodness. – Jesus (Diary of Divine Mercy)
Do not lose heart in coming for pardon, for I am always ready to forgive you. As often as you beg for it, you glorify My mercy. – Jesus (Diary of Divine Mercy)
“God is everything that is good, she writes. All life’s pleasures and comforts are sacramental; they are God’s hands touching us.”- Julian of Norwich
The heart of Christ can be seen through the openings of his wounds. For what can prove to me so clearly as your wounds that you, O Lord Jesus, are sweet & mild & plenteous in mercy. – St. Bernard
But he was pierced for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought our peace was on him; and by his wounds we are healed. – Isaiah 53:5, WEB
Love is the light—and in the end, the only light—that can always illuminate a world grown dim and give us the courage needed to keep living and working.
– Deus Caritas Est-Encyclical Letter, Benedict XVI