The Inner Life of Love
The Inner Life of Love begins with the definition of God. The Holy Scriptures particularly the New Testament says “God is Love” (1 John 4:16). Our readings for the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time present to us the necessity of reawakening or developing the inner dynamics of Love. Love is the greatest commandment and the supreme Christian ethic and the identity of the Blessed Trinity. A very insightful and fascinating way of describing the Trinity based on Love is to say the Father is the Lover, the Son is the Beloved, and the Holy Spirit is the mutual Love between the Father and the Son. Some Theologians may argue against the foregoing expression, however, our interest is to identify the identity of God as Love and this Love forms the centre of our inner life.
The Inner Life is all that goes on in us but we cannot see unless we peep inward or place a search light on our thoughts, feelings, memories, decisions, hopes, dreams, hurts, opinions, attitudes, sense of purpose and value, etc. It is a life of the core sanctuary of the self where we no longer separate God from ourselves but we are conscious of God in the self and the self in God. Father Richard Rohr observes that “Theologically and objectively speaking, we are created in union with God from the beginning (e.g., Ephesians 1:3-9). But it is hard for us to believe or experience this without a healthy ego and boundaries. Thus, the first part of the spiritual journey is about externals, formulas, superficial emotions, flags and badges, rituals, Bible quotes, and special clothing, all of which largely substitute for an authentic spiritual experience (see Matthew 23:13-32).” This being so, we have a task of discovering our internal aspect of life which is called the inner life.
The Inner Life, once properly taken care of, it leads to Joy. The object to search for, cultivate and appreciate in the Inner Life is Love. Jesus the Master of the Inner Life knows what it takes to enjoy the gift of the Inner Life and so He says if you want to enjoy your Inner Life: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.” The foregoing reveals quickly the inner dynamics of the Inner Life of Love. It begins with the heart! The heart is made by God for two purposes according to St. John-Mary Vianney, to love and to pray. Once the heart is properly given its rightful attention, then other centres of the inner life of love such as the mind, the soul, our strengths and the neighbourliness in us and our extended neighbour are properly harnessed and integrated for the supreme good of our creation. What we must do away with is the inclination to see the different aspects of love as separate entities of love. They are all intertwined in God through the neighbour and for us as persons.
The Inner Life of Love is possible because love has been written in our hearts the nearest centre of Love (Jer. 31:31-33). “For this commandment which I command you this day is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up for us to heaven, and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. We only need to discover it and activate it to the fullest” (Deut. 30:11-14). Therefore, the commandment of Love requires that love should proceed from God through others and to ourselves. If we have experienced the love of God, God is a person of abundance and once His presence and graces are acknowledged we become like the Blessed Virgin Mary, “Full of Grace” (Luke 1:28). In our case we become “Full of Love” and from the abundant love of God, love flows to others and we become enriched with love. Don’t forget that God is always for others and that is why the Father loves the Son and the love of the Father and the Son is the Holy Spirit. More so, the Father loved the world so much that He gave His only Begotten Son (John 3:16). We are the beloved of God and from the abundance of God’s love in us we can love others and ourselves. To love God and others is to multiply love in ourselves. Let us develop the zeal to Love God, others and ourselves.
Are you finding it difficult to love? Embark on a personal retreat for inner work.