Living the Word: 1 John 3:1
“See what love the Father has bestowed”
These words of John the Apostle, inspired by the Holy Spirit, breathed into the mind of John and onto the pages of sacred Scripture – let them sink deep into your being. “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God.”
The Greek verb for see is horao and while it certainly does refer to physical sight, this word also means more. It means to perceive, to know in your mind, to experience, to realize, to become aware. More than just physical sight, the verb in this phrase essentially speaks of a whole-hearted (center of the person, all our thoughts, feelings & desires), grasp of the love the Father has bestowed on us. Nothing inspires me more than this.
This love was given to us, bestowed, by our loving Father. First, in the gift of our lives, when God called us into being out of nothing; our very coming into existence was love bestowed in a precious gift: life. Then, the Father bestowed upon us the gift of Himself at our baptisms, pouring the Holy Spirit into us, the love of God (Romans 5:5), the person between the Father & the Son, who is also inseparable from the Father & the Son. “One God, three persons.”
The Christian life is a life lived in the Holy Spirit. It’s a life of divine love lived in God’s family, where our identity is totally secure: we are sons and daughters of God the Father. See, taste, experience, know, realize, become aware of the love that the Father has bestowed on you, that you may be called His son or daughter! How can we see, taste, experience, know, realize and become more aware of this love? Prayer & good Christian recreation!
The life of prayer helps us to experience God’s presence. All day, God is present to us, this is the promise of Jesus prior to His Ascension: “behold I am with you always.” I know in my own life, when I make prayer a priority in the morning, my heart is more attached and open to God, and the affection God longs to share with me (and for me to share with others!) throughout the day. I think I’ll go to my grave recommending to people that we should all have at least ½ hour of prayer every day where we are just present to God and truly engaged with God.
I understand sometimes certain circumstances (my Mom had 7 babies in 10 years) can make it just about (or actually) impossible to get that ½ hour. God totally understands, and in that case, and in any case, trying to cultivate an awareness of God’s presence in the concrete happenings (changing the baby’s diaper, helping our elderly family member, etc.) is an amazing way to also see what love the Father has bestowed.
So about the good Christian recreation…whatever is authentically good, beautiful and true, that’s for you and me in our recreation. A walk in the April snow, a trip to the museum, a time of singing, reading a great book, simply being with family and friends…on and on…the gift of God’s love is abounding. And ultimately…all of His gifts are meant to lead us to Him. Horao!
Love, Blessings & Prayers!! –Fr. Patrick