Agape is the love of God for humanity and humanity’s love for God.
Today, I was praying for a million different intentions. My dear friend Nancy is in my prayers very much these days. And while I pray for Nancy’s health, I pray also for another mother who is gravely ill. And those prayers remind me of the family of Saint Baby Charbel, who passed away only a few short months ago, and so for them I also pray.
And then, there are others who need so many prayers…
There are the people who grieve the choices of their loved ones who battle addiction and the woman who is struggling with a change in her life after over 50 years along one course. I remember the mother who grieves. In praying for these dear souls I am once again reminded to pray for the Lost Souls of Purgatory – for I pity them with all the intensity of my frail heartless and sinful soul.
When I think of those poor Lost Souls, I think of LOVE, because by some miracle… I love them.
I never thought much of the Lost Souls of Purgatory before, but since the Holy Spirit came to find me in my soul – through Grace and no merit of my own – those Lost and Holy Souls feature very often in my prayers. They are my brothers and my sisters and my neighbours and my friends.
They are me and I am they.
And I pity them with all the pity it is in me to possess. For if we think that we reside in this Vale of Tears, we understand nothing. For those Holy Souls reside almost in a literal Hell – separated as they are from God. The difference of course between the Lost Souls of Purgatory, and those Damned to Hell is that Purgatory is TEMPORARY, but Hell ETERNAL. Thus, though they suffer more than we could ever know, the Lost Souls of Purgatory have hope that their suffering is not in vain. After all, it is their suffering there that sanctifies them – for there is no holiness without mortification... Not so for the poor souls of the damned, who suffer in futility without hope for sanctification or salvation – having chosen to eternally reject God.
How I long for all souls to achieve salvation – yes, even the truly evil ones – because they are my siblings. We are together, the children of God, and how much it must pain Him to be separated from His beloved children – even when His children chose that separation. And so, by some miracle, I truly do love those poor lost brothers and sisters of mine – and I pity them. What I feel from them is not romantic love or “eros”; but rather it is called “storge” or “philia” which are family and brotherly love.
Upon reflection, and with humility, I wonder if this love that I feel for my lost brethren is in some way a reflection of God’s deeper love for humanity, which is called “agape”? After all, am I not made in the image and likeness of God? And if that is so, surely, whatever it is that I feel for these lost siblings is a simple reflection of my God and no indication of myself.
It is said that “agape” is far more than a simple emotion. Instead, it is a free-willed CHOICE to love. It is love on an intellectual level. It is love that we shall never truly understand, not even until our dying breath – until we look upon Our Beloved in Heaven.
Saint Faustina, in her Diary 804 wrote… “My Jesus, how little these people talk about You. They talk about everything but You, Jesus. And if they talk so little [about You], it is quite probable that they do not think about You at all. The whole world interests them; but about You, their Creator, there is silence. Jesus, I am sad to see this great indifference and ingratitude of creatures. O my Jesus, I want to love You for them and to make atonement to You, by my love.”
When I read that entry, I see something of “agape” – or at least a Human Expression of it!
To know the reality of agape and the miracle that it is, we must first enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Then – and only then – when we look upon Him, shall we know this love of God. Then – and only then – shall we CHOOSE never to look away.
And that – choosing to look eternally at the love of God – is Heaven... And it is only a breath away!
Heaven is no more than a complete and utter FREELY CHOSEN INFATUATION with Our Beloved – an INFATUATION that is driven by our free will and no cloud of emotion.
Oh how I long for that!
For with prayer everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.