How do I best describe Jesus’ love?
How do I, a nobody, put love into words? Because we best relate to feelings through movies, which movie character can best give us a hint of self-sacrifice for another? In the 2007 movie "Kite Runner", young Hassan embodies that feeling the closest.
Hassan as a servant friend (the short child in the photo) does not even disclose his ultimate sacrifices for his friend: heart-wrenching obedience out of pure love, honest love of a child, and an almost sinless soul. This character gives us a hint of Jesus' love for us. You may be thinking, "How do I dare compare the love of a movie character with Jesus' love?" My question to you is: did you cry for Hassan in that movie? Probably all viewers did. My next question is, when was the last time you cried in church while gazing at the cross?You have to start somewhere, and without reading any books, this is where you can start. All books about divine mercy give you an even greater understanding of Jesus' love. After a few books, it will start to make sense. Jesus' love is the sweetest and most honest love. He does not remind us of His sacrifice to gain our love. He would even experience His Passion a second time if it were needed to save us (Jesus said this**). He is always there (like the character Hassan), a companion in life, and when we fail in defending Him, in easing His pain, by adding extra scourges when we fall into sin, His love is still there. And when we despise him because his company reminds us of our own cowardice and failings in defending him, by sinning out of self-love, we'd rather turn our backs on Him than face Him, exposing our flaws (repentance), as young Amir's character did to young Hassan. He even complies with our will, and He leaves us alone, out of love, until we call Him back. People fear Jesus because we don't make an effort to know Him better; Padre Pio knew Him, and he cried uncontrollably in front of the crucifix while a novice. Further investigation: Why do religious vows of poverty and chastity exist? Because if we deeply love Jesus, sex becomes meaningless, and giving away your possessions to make our brothers happy is a natural byproduct of that love. Obedience, exemplified in Hassan's character, is an extension of the same love. Poverty, chastity, and obedience out of love, a sacrifice without effort when love for your neighbour comes from the heart. Knowing Jesus' love will ultimately make repentance a natural reaction of the heart.
Book: The Love of the Sacred Heart by Saint Mechtilde
As an aside, after watching the movie, give to charity, especially to children in poverty. Websites of a few charities: support for children worldwide; refugee aid; meals for school children in Africa; meals for the poor; religious in poor countries helping families. Keeping Saint Jerome's (400ac) advice:
Your possessions are no longer your own but a stewardship is entrusted to you...and be careful for your part not rashly to squander what is Christ’s. Do not, that is, by an error of judgment give the property of the poor to those who are not poor... For a Christian who allows others to deceive him is almost at much at fault as one who tries to deceive others... Besides food and clothing and things manifestly necessary give no man anything; for dogs must not eat the children’s bread. Distribute with your own hand provisions to alleviate the miseries of the poor and of the brethren. With your own hands, I say, for good faith is rare among men....for my wish is that where I have fallen you may keep your footing.
Book: The Principal Works of St. Jerome by Saint Jerome
When Saint Jerome after many years finally completed his translation of the Bible into Latin in Bethlehem, it was Christmas time and he thought to make this work his gift to the Christ Child on his birthday. In a vision, the Child Jesus appeared to him and told him that he did not want his translation as a birthday gift. Jerome was upset and perplexed after so many years of hard work, and he questioned: "Then what do you want?" "Give me your sins, Jerome. I want you to give me your sins as my gift." The devil in his legalistic mentality wants sins, small and great, to be treated by God as impediments to the heart of Christ. Our Lord refuses to accept this demand. He wants us to ignore the devil's accusation and approach him precisely as sinful and humbled and repentant, with a confidence that our sins do not chase him away in disgust. Bringing our sins to him as a gift, in that case, does not mean that our sins in themselves are a gift pleasing to him. That would suggest we should commit greater sins and so give a bigger gift. It means allowing Our Lord to do what he wants to do, namely, to conquer the devil's lie to souls. Jesus wants to love souls with a love that overwhelms sinfulness with goodness. But to realize this truth, we cannot withdraw from his gaze of love even as we are aware of failure. We are simply doing then what pleases him immensely. He wants to love intensely the soul unafraid to stand naked and in need at the foot of the Cross... it misses a truth about God and is an obstacle to serious relations with him. God certainly does not cling to the past, as souls at times do. He does not examine our past sins over and over again. On the contrary, he wants the remembrance of any former sin simply to compel our soul to a clear recognition of mercy.
Book: Conversion: Spiritual Insights Into an Essential Encounter with God by Fr. Donald Haggerty
Many books give further insight into this love. For example, Teresa of Avila says: "Why does Jesus' love humble people?" Because Jesus is Truth, and the truth is that people are miserable and weak, humility is their true self, and being anything else is false and a lie. Thus, demons are attracted to people living in this lie, a proud life .
Book: Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila
Book: Humility of Heart by Fr. Cajetan Mary da Bergamo
Why did God become incarnate as one of us? Our pride separated us from God. His love for us made God assume human form so that He could prepare a place for us with Him in His Divinity. Since creation, man has wanted to be god-like. God is granting the very wish and reason we originally separated from Him, only a true Father would do such a thing for His children. See the bottom of this site for more Saint Thomas Aquinas on the incarnation of God; to remedy sin...
Because a sin committed against God has a kind of infinity from the infinity of the Divine majesty, because the greater the person we offend, the more grievous the offense. Hence for condign satisfaction it was necessary that the act of the one satisfying should have an infinite efficiency, as being of God and man. Secondly, man's satisfaction may be termed sufficient, imperfectly-i.e. in the acceptation of him who is content with it, even though it is not condign, and in this way the satisfaction of a mere man is sufficient. And forasmuch as every imperfect presupposes some perfect thing, by which it is sustained, hence it is that satisfaction of every mere man has its efficiency from the satisfaction of Christ.
Book: Summa Theologica by Saint Thomas Aquinas
How to belong and be a part of God's love in this life? Father Nicolas Grou(1731-1803) explains,
Strive to know yourself... the perverse and corrupt element in our nature is a consequence of Original sin... we love everything in proportion as it affects ourselves, we judge everything according to our own views, instead we ought to love everything, and even ourselves, only in God and for God's sake... the source of all vices is that we reverse this right order of things...We can see the faults of others plainly, but we cannot and will not see our own; we are angry with those who try to make us see ourselves as we really are... a secret pride... we do all possibly can to hide what we really are from ourselves and from others... If we live and die without really knowing ourselves... to disguise ourselves in our own eyes... and then to appear before God and to see ourselves as we really are! Then it will be too late... Then it is necessary to try in this life to attain to a right knowledge of ourselves and to judge ourselves... All our faults come from leaving the Spirit of God to follow our own spirit...We lean on our spirit until it takes the place of the spirit of God... keep ourselves in God's sight and under the guidance of His hand... Our natural malice is irritated at the forbidding of evil... such an inclination, such a feeling would have led us if education, fear, and religion had not restrained us... if God had not specially watched over us, there is no crime, however terrible, into which our natural corruption might not have led us. Let us thank God, both for those sins which He has forgiven us, and for those from which He has preserved us.
Book: The Spiritual Life: A Comprehensive Manual for Catholics Seeking Salvation by Jean Nicolas Grou
Book: Little Book of Holy Gratitude by Frederick William Faber
How do we attain the right knowledge of ourselves? As Cardinal Henry Edward Manning (1808-1892) explains,
For the light of the knowledge of self (our sins) comes from the light of the knowledge of God... Sin darkens the light of conscience... (thus) no intelligence (human) knows sin with such an intensity of knowledge as God Himself.
Book: Sin and Its Consequences by Henry Edward Cardinal Manning
But let Jesus Himself explain to us the key to his Love and Mercy,
Trust is the key that opens all the treasures of My merciful and infinitely loving Heart. I am touched by a single act of trust in My merciful love more than by a multitude of good works. The soul who trusts in Me allows Me to work freely in her life. The soul who trusts Me, by that very fact, removes the obstacles of pride and self determination that impede My freedom of action. There is nothing I will not do for the soul who abandons herself to Me in a simple act of trust.
Book: In Sinu Jesu: When Heart Speaks to Heart - The Journal of a Priest at Prayer by A Benedictine Monk
Book: The Gaze of Mercy: A Commentary on Divine and Human Mercy by Father Raniero Cantalamessa O.F.M.
Book: Everyday Meditations (Revised) by John Henry Newman
Devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus was revealed to Margaret Mary Alacoque in 1685. Devotion to the Divine Mercy of Jesus through His water and blood (righteousness and sacrifice), gushing from His wound at the crucifixion, was revealed to Saint Faustina in 1934. Why are these devotions revealed at different times in human history?
Once St. Gertrude asked the beloved disciple St.John why he, who first had the happiness of reposing on the Saviour's breast, had taught us none of the secrets of the Adorable Heart. St. John answered that God had reserved to Himself to make them known in a time of great coldness, and that He held back these wonders to rekindle the flames of charity at a time in which it would have grown cold and almost extinct.
Book: The Letters of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque by Clarence A. Fr. Herbst
When suddenly Jesus Christ appeared to her, opened His sacred breast, and showed her His Heart. "Look," said He to her, "this is what thou oughtest to love. Forsake the attractions of human love, and thou shalt find in my Heart ineffable delights."Some time after, in recompense for her immediate renunciation of human happiness, the Lord again appeared to her, fastened to the cross and radiant with love. As she was contemplating Him in ravished delight, He detached one of His arms and drew her to His adorable breast.
Book: The Life and Revelations of St. Gertrude the Great: A Classic from the Middle Ages Revealing the Love and Mercy of Jesus Toward Souls by St. Gertrude the Great and the Religious of Her Monastery
Jesus Christ had always passionately desired to give His Blood, for the salvation of men, and had a hundred times testified this desire. It is not then death, which terrifies Him (at Gethsemane), and makes this chalice so bitter, but the ingratitude of those very men, who will not profit by His death... I have desired, Eternal Father, and more than ever desire, to give liberty to slaves, but I have never desired to make ungrateful men. The outrages I am about to endure from my enemies, do not alarm Me, but the contempt, that I foresee my own children will show Me, afflicts Me, the blindness of the first moves Me, but the enormous ingratitude of these last, pierces My Heart with grief.
Book: The Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: How to Practice the Sacred Heart Devotion by Rev John Croiset
The devotional medal of Our Lady of Grace in 1830 was shown to a Catholic saint by an apparition of our Blessed Mother Mary; it confirms the veracity of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, crowned with thorns, now joined by the Immaculate Heart of Mary, pierced with a sword.
Things have evolved quite quickly after the pride of protestantism: Guadalupe in 1531, "The Mystical City of God" in 1650, the Marian apparitions at Lourdes and Fatima in 1917. Jesus' revelations to His saints, priests, and monks are now demanding that they pay heed to His Mother. Why? Because we are hanging by a thread of Mercy, in a world that demands Justice; who is holding this thin thread? The Intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary.
Jesus said to Saint Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373),
My Divinity speaks to my Manhood..."See how they have despised me. All the Christians shall be killed and their faith eradicated." But my Humanity answers: "No, Lord... I have promised them eternal life." They think about me as those others did about Moses, and say: "He has been gone for a long time... let us have our own will, let our power and will be our god."
Book: The Prophecies and Revelations of Saint Bridget (Birgitta) of Sweden: Volume 1 by Saint Bridget
** "The wicked will also understand that it is not my fault[Jesus'] that they are evil, but their own fault. For if it were possible, I would gladly take upon myself the same torment for each and every man that I once suffered on the cross for all, if thereby they could return to their promised inheritance. But the will of mankind is always opposed to mine. I gave him liberty to serve me, if he would, and to gain the eternal reward." (St. Bridget, Vol 1, 1360)