One of the most haunting questions that I have been asking myself over the last year has come from Augustine’s book of Confessions. In there he asks the questions “What do I love when I love my God?” When I take an inventory of my life, of all the things that I love, I find many things that do not look like God. I find that I have entertained thoughts, emotions and said things that were neither thought nor said. Things that don’t look like Jesus. So what do I love when I love my God?
When I am an enemy towards myself and towards, I have not yet to love God because I have not yet received God. When I begin to receive God, I move towards all of myself and all of others. I take upon myself the identity of the Cross, which is not one of a victim. It is one that knows how to endure pain. Its one that knows how to receive all of the injustice done unto me and I learn how to forgive it. And, when I learn how to die on the cross, I prepare myself for the beauty of the resurrection. I am no longer a victim to others accusations and violence, but, I have learned how to say “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And, when I know the weight of my own cross and have learned how to live with it, I can begin helping others carry theirs. I know the wisdom of the cross. The wisdom of pain. The wisdom of love. I also carry with me the hope of the resurrection. I carry the intimate knowing of God himself. It has permeated all of my heart, all of my soul and all of my mind. It has transformed me.
That transformation feels like a loss, it feels like a death, until you have moved on from carrying the cross, experienced the death and walked out of the tomb. And, yet Richard Rohr beautifully says “there is no loss, just transformation.”
Anyone who has had a huge death to their heart and has seen the cross and resurrection knows this to be true. The loss of a loved one. A divorce. Someone breaking up with them. The betrayal of a friend. Learning to love God with all of your heart begins with taking that weight on your heart to the Cross. To absorb the pain and find the healing you need. We were not meant to live with that weight. We were meant to find a new way to experience reality.
Anyone who has had a huge death to their soul, knows this pain. For every person who has dark nights of the soul. Where God is nothing more than an abstract absence. Where life is lifeless and there is no hope, there is no meaning, there is no God, these people know the pain of the Cross. So continue seeking, asking and knocking, this is to love God with your soul. Keep living and hoping for a better reality, even when it seems like an abstract absence. Continue to live beautifully in that absence, this is to what it means to love God with all of your soul. Be patient, for it is just a season. Even if it has stretched us to our limits.
Anyone who has had a huge death to their mind, knows this pain. For everyone who struggles with obsessive thinking, anxiety, depression. Everyone who struggles with accusing God and others in your mind. Everyone who rationalizes the pain of our lives and the world to avoid experiencing it. All of us knows these pains of the Cross. For those of us who do our best to repent of these things, for those of us who beg for a renewal of our minds.That repentance and begging is what it means to love God with all of our minds.
This is the death of loving God. We become aware of all of the death in ourselves and in the world. This is the hope of loving God. That we may find the rebirth. That we may once again be able to reclaim the beauty and hope of what is already present, but is not yet seen to all eyes. This is my hope, that we become passionate about loving God, loving ourselves and loving others. This is a lifestyle that costs us everything but gives away to a life that is much more abundant than our own comprehension.