One of the most beautiful experiences we can have in this life is to fall in love. I’m sure most people here have been in love at least once. I have too, and it is a wonderful experience, though difficult too. As you know, it is the kind of experience that you want to last forever, but it doesn’t. It passes. Lovers always want to be with each other, and have eyes for no one else but each other. I suppose God made us this way so that we would be drawn to each other and commit to each other, in order that the human race would keep going.
The strange thing is that even though being in love is such a powerful experience, it is hard to say exactly what it is. It is a very mysterious thing. As it says in the Song of Songs: ‘Love is strong as death, passion as cruel as the grave’ (SS 8:6). It is so powerful and at the same time it is always just out of reach.
One thing we do know is that love comes from God. God is the first and the greatest lover. What we experience when we fall in love and later hopefully grow in the deeper stages of love, is something of what comes from God. We only have the experience of love because God gives it to us, and we are being invited to go deeper into a relationship of love all the time. The love that two people experience between each other is just a tiny reflection of this love that is God.
Love also wants to share everything. Two people in love will share everything with each other. This is how we came to be here in the first place. The love that the Holy Trinity lives—a relationship of total and intense self-giving love—overflows to us. When you are ecstatically happy about something, you naturally want to share it with someone, or with lots of people. God wanted to share his intense joy and so He created everything, the spirit world and then human beings, in order that we could also experience and enjoy that same love. The fact that we are created last—according to Genesis—is a way of saying that we were the most important thing that God created. We are God’s masterpiece, because we resemble him more than anything else He created.
However, in order for us to be able to love, God also had to make us free, so that we could freely choose to love or not, to reject God or not, because you cannot force love out of someone, it has to come freely. So now we have this bizarre situation where we are created to enjoy the love of God, which we will experience fully in heaven, but we also have the freedom to reject it.
I’m often amazed at the amount of parents who tell me in great distress about a child, or children who have rejected them. They cannot understand why. They did everything they could for their children and then their children turned their back on them. It happens quite often. We also do this with God. God offers us everything and gives us everything, but we can still reject him and people do.
I think that must have been one of the most difficult things in the life of Jesus, knowing that some people would still reject him in spite of the terrible sufferings he was going through to gain the possibility of eternal life for us. His death and resurrection re-opened the way to heaven for us, but we can still reject it.
The fact that we are here at all is a reminder of what the Holy Trinity is, a relationship of total self-giving love. A married couple is a reflection of what God is, because out of the complete self-giving of a man and a woman there is the potential for another person to be born. The love between the Father and the Son is another person: the Holy Spirit. It is a reminder of the extraordinary role that all of you married couples have in raising your families. In giving of yourselves to each other and for your children, you are mirroring what God does. So the next time you are exhausted with the demands of your relationship or your children, remember this. Difficult and all as it is, you are imitating what God does, which means that you are called to something extraordinary.
The human being is God’s masterpiece.