How do we show affection to our heavenly Father, when there is no way on this earth that we can give him a big hug? How do we wash Christ’s feet like Mary Magdalene, when He is hidden away in heaven?
How do we love God? This question is vitally important because Jesus Himself declared the greatest commandment to be, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mk 12:30). How can we possibly carry this out?
One way I had initially thought I could answer this question in my own life was through hymns and worship songs. Through prayer in song, your heart is poured out in the lyrics, your soul is sincere, your mind prays the words, and you can sing with all your strength.
Eventually, I had to realize that it couldn’t stop there. Praise songs are good, but they’re a small answer to a much larger question.
Prayer. Meditative prayer – that had to be it. And through Adoration and praying the Rosary, I did realize that opening the door to God, giving Him that time to work on me, was an act of love to Him. It was an act of affection, like that of Mary, Martha’s sister, as she knelt at Christ’s feet and listened to His voice.
But what about the rest of the day? Setting aside times of prayer couldn’t be the whole answer – isolated, they can become a separate category in the day, not affecting anything else. In order to love God with ALL your heart, soul, mind, and strength, it has to include every aspect of your life.
It seems to me that, in order to love Him with all we’ve got, we need two things: we need to allow our hearts to be transformed by Him through times set aside for prayer, and we need to be able to somehow see Him at all times, in all the different places we have been placed, in order to then be able to show Him acts of love.
In fact, Mother Teresa, paraphrased here, teaches something similar: “Purity of heart enables one to perceive God’s presence and His loving action in all the events of life, the most trivial as well as the most demanding. The natural response, then, is to return love for love.” (Where There Is Love There Is God, p.288). And with that, we come back to the Gospel, and to Christ’s words: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” (Mt 25:40).
Let us pray that we can have our eyes opened to love God like this. It’s hard, it’s so hard, to remember – but He will transform our hearts, if we allow Him. After all, He’s the one that gives us the power to love in the first place.