Every Lent, that springtime for the soul, Hosea invites us to be (not only fall) in love again. God promises us: “I will love you freely . . . I will be like the dew for you . . . You shall blossom . . . strike root . . . put forth shoots . . . bear fruit.” God’s love delivers.
And that’s the point Jesus makes when asked which was the first commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength . . . You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” This is the endless circle of love: God first loves us, and we respond, loving God directly and loving our neighbor, even when an enemy. This is how God’s kingdom comes into the world.
God’s love, freely and forever given, delivers us from and to. Love delivers us from fear, anxiety, anger, and hatred. When we allow ourselves to receive God’s love, living every day aware of it as gift, we gradually come to a place of inner peace, trusting God will never stop loving us and will give us the strength to love in return. We breathe in the life-breath of the Spirit and breathe it back out into the world.
God’s love is a force moving us forward into the future, depending on our self-emptying and self-giving, in imitation of Jesus, culminating in ever-deepening communion. Teilhard de Chardin wrote that love is the “only force that can make things one without destroying them.” Love delivers us to our final destination: immersion in the mystery of God’s love.