Thursday, August 30, 2007

Trusting in God's infinite love for us

Writing about Psalm 91, which the devil quotes in a distorted manner to Jesus in tempting him to hurl himself off the parapet of the Temple, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, in his book Jesus of Nazareth, observes: "If you follow the will of God, you know that in spite of all the terrible things that happen to you, you will never lose a final refuge. You know that the foundation of the world is love, so that even when no human being can or will help you, you may go on, trusting in the One who loves you."

He also reminds us that putting our trust in God "is something quite different from the reckless defiance of God that would make God our servant" (pg. 38). So, we must surrender our will to God's will, not as an act of self-abasement or resignation to fatalism, but out of genuine trust, born of love, like the trust we put in our parents as young children. We do so in the knowledge that God loves us and will never abandon us, no matter what. It is not too pie-eyed or superficial to trust, as Julian of Norwich trusted: "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well." Neither should we seek, like pagans, to propitiate God in a cheap attempt to gain His favor so that nothing bad will ever happen to us. We do not need to do this because we live in the confidence of knowing that God already loves us, is always already on our side. While we do not need to propitiate God, we do recognize that, just as parents long to be loved by their children, to receive physical affection, such as hugs, and verbal affirmations of love, from them, "God thirsts to be thirsted after."

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