The need to feel God’s love for me.
I have wondered if God loves me and what would that mean, anyway. There are moments when I am filled with love and wonder at the beauty and goodness of all creation. In large cities like Paris or Madrid I often marvel at the harmony in which so many people share such a small place, with huge systems of transport and sewage and food supply and at how rarely people bounce off each other in busy shopping places like Oxford Street.
There have been times, even, when I have glimpsed and tasted the absolute and infinite love of God which renders everything else unimportant. Recently, though, I’ve been aware that experiencing God’s love for all His creation is not the same as experiencing God’s love for me. I even wondered if I have ever been aware that God loves me.
For most of my life the message, from the Church, from teachers and from employers, and latterly from my own children has been about how they would prefer me to be. In particular, people closest to me, whom I know love me, are those who most want me to be clever, hard-working, tidy, attentive, rich and generous (together), good fun, helpful, omnipresent and understanding. I am often nowhere near how people would like me to be. Add to this a comprehensive training in examining my conscience and confessing my sins – from the age of 6 – and it is not surprising that I have lived a life trying to be what others tell me they want of me. And worse, failing even in this, for most complain that I am incompliant.
Solitude and silence.
It has taken me all my life to discover silence and taste the deep peace of solitude.
“In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence.” Mother Theresa
It is in this silence, this nothingness and emptiness that self is picked out and picked up like the pearl without a price. In that moment I am just who I am, the work of a craftsman who looks at the work of his hands in delight.