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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

In Love

I'm not sure when it happened. It wasn't a single moment, like a drop of dew forming on the petal of a rose, that both reflects the light and takes on the vibrant hue of the flower simulataneously.

It took longer. It was tiny seed that grew, and became something hidden, then poked through the earth, constantly expanding, growing, constantly evolving, becoming something new, but staying the same, always connected, for it is the foundation that made it grow. And it was fed by the exterior elements that I took in, akin to sunshine and water...feeding me, feeding what was growing.

I don't know the moment I fell in love with Jesus. I only know that I did, and since then, everything has been different.

There have been moments, snapshots in time, but more a sense of growing wonder, of closeness, of His voice, His presence, His example.  When I look at the crucifix, I see love, intermingled with the suffering, but the love is dominant.  Who would do such a thing...but for love?

This has been growing for years now, and when I first came to realize it, I fled in tears, terrified.  Why ME?  I'm not worthy!  I wanted to be invisible in a crowd...why was Jesus looking at ME?  How could He notice?  Why?

But He has been patient, and waited for me to come back. No pressure, just a gentle draw.  I was like the doe beside the stream, wanting to drink, testing the air, ready to flee. And Our Lord stood with His hand out, waiting, unmoving.  Never forceful.  Letting me come according to my time and my need.  Letting me flee, knowing I'd be back.

All He asked me to do was Trust. He supplied all the love.

And waited.  He's still waiting.  I can see Him more clearly now, holding out His hand.  Waiting.

That's what love does. Waits. Sacrifices. Gives.

On Sunday, when I arrived at Mass, as I opened my breviary I offered a little prayer, to be answered if it be God's will.  Just a small prayer, knowing He may not answer, but wanting to reach back to Him, wanting to understand something.

He answered, throughout the Mass. It wasn't about feeling or emotion...in fact, I was pretty "dry", but heard Him in every word.  Phrases that stuck out. Surprising phrases. The choice of music...speaking directly to me, not coincidental.  And then, startlingly, at Communion, my name, called specifically, followed by one of my deepest prayers, contained in a phrase, one that had been unuttered but present nontheless.

Knowing those words were directed towards me, that my prayer had been inspired by the Holy Spirit, and that my love was not apart from the love of others present, that the love expressed to me was not for me alone, but applied to others. That the Sacrifice at which I was present was for me personally just as it was for many of us, personally.  We who choose to accept it.

Over the last few years, though, what has revealed love to me hasn't been what the world thinks defines it.  REAL Love is something far harsher, something that doesn't allow one to turn back and turn it away.  It gives us the choice in the very beginning...drink of this cup...or turn it away? Once we've accepted it, we can't possibly turn away; real love is a permanent decision, which does not allow room for divorce or separation, for malignment, adultery; it does not allow us to run away. It is a decision for life.  

I've had to make that choice in different situations, again and again. Every day. Every moment.  So often I fail. But Our Lord is faithful, and continually makes His offering.  Teaching me what it means to sacrifice. To give of ourselves.

Everything.

I'm not there yet. He's still calling. I'm still running away, but there's a difference now;  before when I ran, I ran in tears, terrified.  Then I began running in rebellion.  And now I'm running out of habit, because it's what I'm used to doing, but what I really DESIRE is to be running the other way.  A year or so ago I spoke briefly with a priest at my parish, astounded after an evening of prayer with some Sisters. I told him, "I think this is for real...", and all he said was, "Run to Him."

I know now that when I run, I'll be running to the Cross.  If I love Our Lord, I must love suffering, I must embrace suffering, I must embrace joy, I must embrace all that the Cross represents.  I must embrace eternity.

What is love?  I didn't used to know.

Maybe I still don't.  Today, as I spoke about children, a woman, a mother with a wry expression asked me, "Do you have children?"

No.

I was almost ashamed.  Never mind that I'm not married and never have been.  The expression on her face said enough.  It said I didn't have credibility, I couldn't possibly understand.  She nodded, smiling cynical, reserving judgment. But I could see through her eyes...I wished she could see Christ in mine.  I'm not sure if He was there or if it was just me.

What she didn't understand is that I don't have biological children; mine are spiritual.  She's one of them.

That's what it means to embrace the Cross...to have your own children reject you.

Jesus knew about this. Mary knew about this.

I'm only just learning.

But it makes me love Him more. Because it's what I've done to everyone who ever really loved me through my entire life.  Rejected them.

That's what love is really about. Rejection. Self-Sacrifice. Redemption.

It's not gushy feelings. It's not a cheap money-shot in a B-movie. It's not a one-liner or a momentary experience.

It's real. It's enduring. It's harsh...and it's bonding.  It's deeper than any physical union.

I think I'm in love with Jesus, and I don't ever want to be in love with anyone else.  He is enough for me.

I only pray I can live up to His invitation...whatever it is.
*

14 comments:

Mike said...

Wow! This is the second post of yours that has brought tears to my eyes reading it. Thank you.

Adoro said...

Mike . ~ Um, thanks, I think? Can I ask what the first one was?

If it's a good thing, give glory to God. That's all I can say.

A Little One said...

I am very sorry for the way that mother rejected you...very sorry for her. She does not understand that as part of the Mystical Body of Christ we ARE able to see and feel what another part sees and feels. Sometimes we are able even to see more clearly, as we have the advantage of a clearer view from our appointed place. And the love...she does not understand the love...the love that courses through His Mystical Body and through ours as we share in it. That love does surpass all understanding and as you say, it can be scary and make us want to run away. But it also woos us...we cannot long resist once we give our heart to Him, our Beloved. I pray for you right now that His most perfect Holy Will be done in your life...

Adoro said...

Thank you, Little One (lol, one of my favorite nicknames was "Little Bit"...) ~

I don't think she is a bad Mom. In fact, in our conversation, I gathered that she is a good Mom, we agree on many things. She isn't a fan of the nursery, believing children belong at Mass. But I don't think she sees the value of Mass, the necessity of it. And I think when I admitted I don't have children, I lost status in her eyes. But out of protectiveness...not elitism! Please pray for her, Thank God for her...for I do believe she loves her children, would die to protect children not her own, because she is a Mother.

I don't think she likes me, but I think she likes Jesus, and that's what's important.

I hope Jesus woos her, that she sees His importance in her life, in her children's life...nothing is more important than God..

A Little One said...

I am sure she is a very good mom and I am very glad she loves Jesus. I think perhaps she doesn't understand...one does not need to have biological children to love children, to understand children. God can infuse this love into a heart, just as an adoptive parent takes in and loves a child. We must respect each other as parts of that Mystical Body of Christ, because when we love Him we must love and respect each other. There is an interconnectedness that seems to grow the more I grow closer to Him. I share more deeply in the joy and the sorrow of others. Is that what you are referring to somewhat or did I read too much into your post? It was so very touching....

Anonymous said...

As long as Jesus is your first love in your heart and all attachment to creatures are removed, then you are free to be used by Him to bring others closer. He may want you in a relationship, all that matters is His will for your life. You will be happy knowing you are fulfilling whatever it is that he wants for you. We
must die in order for his life to rise up in us.

Adoro said...

A Little One ~ I think you might be reading too much into a very minor part of this post

Jill said...

Hi Adoro,

I recently discovered your blog and want to express my gratitude. Your openness to the Christ is breathtaking and I am very inspired by your faith. While it's in a different way and via another path, I am also in a place of discernment. Thank you for your candid writing; God is using you as an instrument (at least to this fellow sojourner!)

Maureen said...

Not to mention that, though not everybody has children, everybody has been a child.

So there. Nyaah.

Tara said...

In love with Jesus, the only one who gives us everlasting life, the one who is compassion and mercy--always welcomes us--even when we reject Him--His arms always open wide. He loves us, and the only thing we need to give Him--the only thing we truly have to give Him--is our will. When we truly give Jesus our will, then we truly know the joy that comes from loving Him--ahhhh.

Adoro said...

Jill ~ Thanks for your comment, and I'm humbled Our Lord is using me to help others. God bless you as you discern His will in your life!

Maureen ~ LOL!

Tara ~ Yes, exactly, giving Him our Will, so that we can be unified with Him...

justme said...

beautiful.

Adoro said...

Justme!~ I miss you! How are you?

Anonymous said...

How many times have we all judged or been judged; rejected or been rejected when it was love that was being offered whether directly from God or through His creatures?

While I recognize that the mom was just a concrete example, there are *SOME* things one must be a parent to understand, but *MOST* things anyone with love and attention can understand.