“O Sister, love Jesus deeply, for love leaves fear behind. I am very little, I have done nothing great for Him throughout my life, but I have always trusted in His love. Great and incomprehensible is God’s mercy. We should not be afraid of God, but, instead of fear, we should strive to have love; love alone sanctifies souls. I rejoice that this love of ours has lasted throughout our entire lives; it is clear that Jesus was the link (between us). Sister, be a good religious.”
– letter to Sister Ludwina Gadzina
Love. Always love.
It always comes back to this. Love is the secret of God; His love for us, our love for Him, and our love of Him reflected in love of neighbour. How simple it really is, and yet we complicate it so. In the end, we will be judged on how we have loved, both God and our neighbour.
As Faustina notes so rightly, ‘loves leaves fear behind’. When we truly love the Lord, we do indeed trust in His infinite mercy for us, even though we know we are sinners – but is it not this very knowledge that propels us to seek His mercy? Is not the entire message of Divine Mercy one of incomprehensible love of God for us? And is this not the very echo of the Gospel message itself?
Fear is, indeed, the beginning of wisdom, as we read in Proverbs; and yet, if we really believe in a God of love, then we must move beyond fear and develop an attitude of love of God, trusting in His great mercy. That fear is the ackowledgement of His divine Justice, which we rightly deserve because of our sins; and yet, recognising our sinfulness, we therefore ackowledge our need of His mercy – and He is at pains to tell us that He is truly a God of mercy. As the Psalmist tells us, speaking on behalf of us all –
‘My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a humbled, contrite heart, O God, You will not spurn.’
When we pray this evening, let us look into our hearts and ask if our relationship with the Lord is one of fear or one of love. And let us ask the Lord to grant us His grace in finding the proper balance between the two.