• Sarah Raad


God has loved me forever!

Trinity (Trinità) (Masaccio)

I have been praying for many intentions over the last few days. Today, in particular, while I pray for others, I pray fervently for the Lost Souls in Purgatory. I imagine the suffering of such souls while they await their final rest in eternity.

The other day, I was waiting with my children at the bus-stop. We had an adventure planned and we were catching the bus to get there. The wait was about 10 minutes. How interminable that wait seemed to those three young children of mine. With the promise of adventure just within reach, suddenly 10 minutes seemed like a lifetime.

And this feeling does not occur just with buses or trains of children. It happens with every new adventure and happy event in our lives. Ask any pregnant woman how fast she feels her pregnancy goes, or how quickly those last few days and weeks seem to her – although I suggest that you take a good few steps backward first, because if she is having a particularly tiresome day you could bear the brunt of her frustrations…

All of these times of waiting have caused me to think about eternity very much over the last few days.

Recently, I have heard stories about a few young mothers who are facing their mortality through dreadful illness and this has focused my mind on eternity, when I offer my prayers for these women... For death comes to us all – and the only thing we can do is pray for the grace to prepare for the eternity that will follow…

And yet, this idea of eternity is so frightening to me. Just thinking about it and trying to imagine it I am overwhelmed!

I have written before of what this terrible fear can do.

I am a bird inside a cage. The door is open, but I am so afraid and worried about this massive unknown place – eternity – that my mind shrinks from even the thought of it. Here I sit, hopping around on my perch inside those bars and I watching the world outside, catching glimpses of it from my prison – but I am never tempted to move out through the door and beyond – no matter how unbearable the cage itself becomes.

I read somewhere recently, that the evil one does not come dressed in black with horns on his head, he comes as everything we have ever wished for in our life…

In reflecting on these wishes in my life, it occurred to me that if I really were to account for eternity, I should reconsider my life-wishes...

Saint Francis Borgia gave some advice about this… “We must make our way towards eternity, never regarding what men think of us or our actions, studying only to please God.”

“To please God…” What does that mean? It means to do God’s Will.

Saint Alphonsus Liguori said, “When you want what God wills, it is our own greatest good that we will; for God desires what is for our greatest advantage.”

But how oh how do I trust enough? How oh how do I let go enough to rationally trust God with everything that I am? How do I trust Him enough to close my eyes, hold His hand and step out into eternity when the time comes?

Today, I turned to Saint Francis de Sales for the answer. And he gave it to me so beautifully… “When did God’s love for you begin? When He began to be God. When did He begin to be God? Never, for He has always been without beginning and without end, and so He has always loved you from eternity.”

God has loved me FOREVER! He has loved you for that long too. He has loved each human soul since forever… That includes all the souls who die alone and lost, that includes all souls who die in despair, that includes all human souls who are killed, that includes all souls who die in their mother’s wombs, that includes even Judas Iscariot – the human who betrayed His human life… That means He loves me forever when I betray Him over and over again…

And so, today when I imagine eternity, I imagine how it will feel to fly outside that silly little cage, with my wings spread on the wind.

And my fear is lessened… because I know that nobody should fear if they have sinned, for in the words of Saint John Chrysostom “FORGIVENESS has risen from the grave”.

And we are Catholic!

In Islam, god transcends. In Islam, god is the master of his SLAVES. Nothing on the earth can call itself more than the slave of that god.

But I am not Islamic. I am Catholic.

I am the CHILD of the Father, a sister of the Son and a Temple of the Holy Spirit. In the words of Scott Hahn in his book, “The Creed”… “In Jesus, God Himself has willed to put aside His transcendence – for us and for our salvation.” This is because we do not say that God loves us, using the word love as a verb. We say God is love, using love as a noun. God is identified as LOVE, and it is a love so powerfully beyond anything that we can ever imagine that the love between the Father and the Son is ALIVE and equal to them in the person of the Holy Spirit.

Upon reflection, watching out from between the bars of my little cage, perhaps I can close my eyes and hold out my hand – if I receive the Grace of God…

After all, who wouldn’t want to spend forever in PERFECT LOVE?

For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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