The ‘Terrible’ Love of Jesus
Jesus once again asks us this weekend to abide in his love – what might this mean ?
Abiding in Christ’s love then must mean never ceasing from prayer, from desire, from adoration, thanksgiving, intercession, love. Abiding in his love also means standing ready, in principle, to lay down our lives for love of Him and of our brothers and sisters; to die, even to be crucified, for love.
For this reason we might say the love of Christ is a terrible thing. It demands everything of us, and by its nature, must cost us everything. Sometimes people are delighted and are ‘up’ for this demanding love , and embrace it; but then somehow we can lose sight of it, and refuse to go any further towards it. Having given so much, we feel we can just give no more. This is always a sadness, because in so far as we give, so much the more do we receive – ‘grace upon grace’ – and as our love is called upon, and exercised, and stretched, so is it purified, and deepened, and widened, and strengthened, until finally it flows more easily, spontaneously, naturally, with all the joy of the Holy Spirit. To reach this state is the highest conceivable good for us. No human aspiration can go beyond that, in fact we start to access a love which is beyond our own appetites. To live according to this love is to be perfectly happy. To live without it, is to lack the beatitude for which we were made.