By Kyle Richard Therese George
Romans 5: 6 “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. 8 But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. 11 But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
Mankind was formed from the dust of the earth, and to dust we shall return, but we are also made from love and from this love, we are capable of being made into something beautiful from the dustiness of our sinful lives. We were not made sinful from the dust of the earth;
Divine Love made us from the nothingness of the dust into something that was good, in fact, we were made very good. It is when we desire to be of the dustiness of the world that our very good image becomes tarnished by not giving ourselves up to act in accordance with God’s Divine Providence. God did not have to create us, yet in His Divine Providence He decided to create man to receive His love in a holy reciprocity. He created us free to choose Him, but with the opportunity to reject Him. To me, the fact that we have a God who made us knowing that we could choose not to love Him proves that God loves us.
He gave us gifts according to His Divine Providence, so that we could know how to do the good, and to serve Him for the benefit of the world. (Note: Catechism 302, “Creation has its own goodness and proper perfection, but it did not spring forth complete from the hands of the Creator. The universe was created, ‘in a state of journeying’ (in statu viae) toward an ultimate perfection yet to be attained, to which God has destined it. We call ‘divine providence’ the dispositions by which God guides his creation toward this perfection.”)
Only, when we cooperate with the providence of this love, can we be lifted up from the dustiness of ourselves into the perfected good that we were made on the journey to become.
This is difficult because often we choose lesser goods; we fall into our desires for satisfaction in things that ultimately never really help us achieve true happiness. Once we are done with these acts, the good that we temporarily receive causes an aching emptiness because we know that something greater satisfies our heart’s desire for happiness, and each of us will be satisfied differently because God uniquely made us. We are all longing for our hearts to be satisfied by something that this world cannot satisfy. Often we rely on friends, family, or even material things, but while these are created goods, they are not impeccable. Objects cannot love us in return, and friends and family are not always going to love us, as we ought to be loved. Yet, a loving God provides us these things in order that we can have a glimpse of His love.
Perhaps the reason that we long so much to fulfill our desires for happiness, but often they go unfulfilled is because they are not supposed to be fulfilled by what we think needs to fulfill them. Maybe, God is allowing our hearts to long for friendships and a good family life because He wants us to be satisfied with Him first.
Isn’t God our primary friend and family member? There are many empty chambers of the heart, have we considered that God is allowing us to long for them to be filled because He wants us to direct this longing towards Him? Because He created the heart of man, I am certain that by the virtue of His Divine Right, His Perfect Divine Love will fill those rooms in ways that will satisfy the restlessness of our hearts.
The Lord aches when He sees that we choose something other than Him just as any parent would to see their child run away from the good that they know is what their child should pursue, but instead they choose a lesser good. (Think the Prodigal Son). God aches for us to return with our broken selves in order to receive the Love, who bore the weight of our sinful acts, which purges us from our disordered struggles, and who heals our woundedness through the Cross. On the cross, the Father stretched His only-begotten Son’s arms wide to receive His prodigal children on their long journey back Home to His Heart, which was opened by the spear of St. Longinus. At the foot of the cross, we “come as we are,” and that “as we are” parts of ourselves is overcome by a conquering love through the power of the Cross purging us with the Fiery Love of the Holy Spirit to be transformed by the renewal of our minds into “who we were created to be.”
The thing our culture most often forgets about “coming as you are,” is that we must be willing to offer the “as you are,” parts of ourselves up to the Cross in order for the Lord to transform us into who we were made to be. We must be willing to let go of what is keeping us from doing the task that God has created us to fulfill by joining ourselves to the embrace of Christ on the cross. Being illuminated by His love, which satisfies the longing of our hearts conquering our fallen nature, that way we can be truly happy through doing the true good in this life to be supremely happy in the next. Even though we were sinners, God loved us enough to send His only-begotten Son into this world to die for mankind knowing that all of humanity is responsible for His Son’s death on the Cross. Despite the Roman Soldiers torturing, nailing, and hanging of God’s Son on a cross to die, God created them so that He could share that sacrificial love with them. It is amazing because we cannot possibly fathom that kind of love, but we are still called to do love one another as Christ has loved us. Through the cross, we are overcome with a perfect love because it is by the cross’s power that we are capable of turning from the corruption of the choices that we have made into a conversion of the heart within the resurrected life. The graces necessary for salvation are provided to us, but it is only through picking up our crosses, denying ourselves daily, and following the Lord through cooperation with Him that we can overcome the power that sin has on us.
Recognizing our most grievous faults and wounds by bringing them up in prayer with courage in the serenity of heart all of our sins and selfishness are taken up to be crucified in the broken flesh of Christ. What is left is a newness of life, a new beginning, towards the promise of the resurrected life. When it seems like our lives have fallen apart, and it seems like we have begun to taste the nothingness of the world’s great substitute for true happiness we begin to ponder who can bring us from that nothing into a something that will truly help us reach a life well-lived.
We must then be overcome by His love being reborn as His beloved disciple allowing God’s transcendent love to conquer us. Taking our faith into the homes of our own heart, and spreading the fire of His love to wherever we may go, allowing God to conquer our dustiness in order to be rebuilt into something holy and unblemished in His sight all the days of our lives; to be more precious than gold, or finer than silver. To become a person set wholly holily set apart for the Lord, overcome by His perfect love.
Kyle Richard Therese George, is a Seminarian of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.He has a Bachelors of Theology from Belmont Abbey College. A convert of 7 years, he enjoys writing spiritual reflections on how to live a devoutly Catholic life in a fallen world.