In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that God has loved us.

(pertaining to today’s second reading: 1 John 4:7-10)

A lot in life convinces us that it all depends on our efforts. If we obey our parents, we’ll have a peaceful experience. If we do our homework diligently, we’ll find the best employment. If we perform well at work, we’ll get promotions to live the good life. If we marry the right person, have the right amount of children, select the right house, purchase the right lawnmower, things will go well for us.

What if this Zen formula isn’t true? John presents a radically different view of our tasks in this letter. It’s not about us; it’s about God. God initiates and our task is to respond. God loves, which makes the goal of our existence primarily to be loved. Sound easy? Not always. Sometimes we refuse love, or imagine ourselves as unlovable. We deny the value of love or its necessity. We may be a lot more comfortable with the idea that happiness is an inside job for which we alone are responsible. Being loved by God involves a deep surrender of control over our destiny. It transforms why we’re here, and what our true purpose is.   (Alice Camille)

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