Love Images

Occasionally in the middle of my restlessness and worry I will reach for a pen and a page to take my mind off the situation I want to deny. I find a blessed relief in mulling over the love-story of Incarnation, ruminating on the forgotten theological and spiritual teachings, and their implications for our lives and that of our precious world. And so, in the lovely light of these thoughts in many of these pages, we need, I’m certain, new images for God. What might these images be? Maybe a Mother God who is deeply in love with us, a Lover God who adores us, our names branded on her hands, an Artist God who designed, created and sustains the whole of Creation and its astonishing beauty, and who loves it unconditionally, no matter what. A key concept here, too, is that God is simply another name for unconditional love. This is a love we cannot change in the slightest way, no matter what; a love that never sleeps, keeping the time and tune, as Dante wrote, of the cosmic dance of sun and stars.

Or, for instance, ask yourself about how you understand the mystery of the Incarnation. Every word of this book, and this project, tries to open our hearts, and to present the astonishing image of the irrepressible love of God. Referring to God and Creation, Pope Francis recently spoke of the divine impulse and imperative to create and spread unconditional love. And that’s why God created the world and us – so that Incarnation would happen. (As we keep saying, it was happening from the beginning: the Big Bang was the first incarnation.) From the beginning God was in love with us and wanted to live among us, and as us, to reveal to us what true humanity looks like. God became like us so that we would become like God. The humanity of God; the divinity of us. Both so perfectly present in Jesus, the Human One.

To repeat. Once more! This beautiful spirituality reveals that nothing went wrong with God’s Creation. There never was an angry God who banished us from a garden because of an original sin by Adam and Eve. Paradise was not lost: because it never existed. There was only ever Plan A, never a Plan B of God’s original desire going wrong, of atonement and reparation by what St Augustine described as a massa damnata. Creation was for Incarnation to take place; it was never about the mea culpas of guilt. Creation was the preparation for Jesus; God has never been disappointed with us for any original sin: only always delighted with us, exactly as we are. I remind myself that God never ever punishes anybody for anything. God just cannot punish or send us trials. Unconditional love is the meaning of the word ‘God’.

The divine name is a verb, not a noun. God does not really give her conditional love and forgiveness; unconditional love and forgiveness is what God essentially is. Please try to interiorise this wisdom without the slightest doubt. Your heart already knows this well, so believe it, trust it. Everything, somehow, is love. As the demons draw near, and every morning they do, I try to protect myself in the shadow of what I know by heart: that our deepest reality is love. Can you think of a better way to pray, a better way of touching our Lover’s tender heart, than to be meditating, lingering and delighting in these truths; especially when the darkness is heavy, and formal prayers may not help anymore? Is there a more sustaining way of preparing for an unknown and precarious future; a better way of anticipating the final intimacy with God that we long for, that we were created for?

Dancing to my Death  pp162-163