Loving God – Loving Ourselves
Thoughts on the First Readings – Joe Frankenfield
Rogers and Hammerstein adapted the story of Cinderella for a television play in 1957. In it Julie Andrews and her prince, sang, “Do I love you because you’re beautiful or are you beautiful because I love you?” Every adult knows that it’s a great question but not easy to answer.
What are we to make of Jesus? Why do we profess such great love for a man who lived two millennia ago in a culture that we can scarcely imagine? Why did John imagine all the creatures of the universe praising him?
Jesus loved, forgave and cured people in the name of his divine Father. He lived in a way that those who knew him realized that they were witnessing God among them. Having seen Jesus executed as a threat to public order, they came to believe in God’s boundless love. When they saw Jesus raised from death, they realized that nothing can thwart God’s desire to fulfill life’s promise. Knowing God’s love for them freed them to love themselves and, in turn, grow in their love of God.
Loving God is inseparable from loving ourselves. Loving ourselves is inseparable from loving one another. Loving God, ourselves and one another is inseparable from loving our universe, the matrix of our existence and our knowledge.
There’s wisdom in our normal way of thinking that divides God, self, other and universe into discreet ideas so that we can understand and appreciate each more deeply. We have benefited greatly from this way of looking at things.
There’s also wisdom in respecting the unity of self, other and universe with the all-penetrating reality of the Creator. It’s the wisdom that ultimately anchors all our ethics and morality
Deep peace and joy await our rediscovery of this unity revealed in Jesus.