Our Destiny is Love

BaltimoreCatechism4Why did God make you? Some of us memorized the answer to that question as children. The Baltimore Catechism says, “God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next” (No. 6).

More specifically, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

The vocation of humanity is to show forth the image of God and to be transformed into the image of the Father’s only Son… (paragraph 1877)

‘All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity.’ (2013, quoting Lumen Gentium 40§2)

In other words, when the Baltimore Catechism said God made us to love Him, it didn’t mean to love Him a little or to love Him moderately. It meant to love Him “with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:4). This is the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37-38).

Why should we love God, other than out of a desire to save our souls? The answer is easy. “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins… We love, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:10, 19).

As Thomas Aquinas so beautifully put it, “Creatures came into existence when the key of love opened his hand” (In libros sentitiarum II, Prol.).

640pxGodisLoveAs a disciple of the Carmelite saints, I am frequently reminded of the primacy of God’s love. Christ is God’s love incarnate (cf Deus Caritas Est, 12). He is our companion throughout our spiritual lives, our constant reminder of God’s goodness. Following Teresa of Avila, we meditate on the Gospel, never turning away from Jesus out of a misplaced desire to be “more spiritual.” Like David, we “keep the Lord ever before” us (Psalm 16:8). It is God’s love in Christ that motivates us to ascend Mount Carmel, to detach ourselves from everything that is not God. He loved us first. His love moves us to love in return.

Love is our beginning.
Love is our motivation.
Love is our destiny.

Art: Baltimore Catechism, Liz Estler, own work, 10-16-10, used with permission. Catechism of the Catholic Church, file copy. A cross in a heart formed with candles, photo taken in Camp Tejas, Giddings, Texas, USA, Wingchi Poon, 13 March 2010, PD-US copyright expired, Wikimedia Commons.

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