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  • Writer's pictureDr. Anthony Lilles

The Love of the Father - Unfathomable Immensity

Christ Jesus, the radiant splendor of the Father's love, entered into our condition to infuse into human history a gentle blessing that was long ago misunderstood and rejected. This uncommon benevolence toward us in our present plight comes from the hidden depths of God's very Being. In those same depths, the Father conceived each one of us in His Word by an unfathomable ecstasy of goodness and truth. The Father asks us to listen to His Word now—to allow the words of His Word to enter our hearts. The Father knew us in Christ in eternal jubilation from before the foundation of the world, and, by the delight of His heart with which He pondered each one, He summoned each of us into our own existence, in time and space, before Him to know the burning furnace of His love. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we came to be in all our uniqueness and particularity in the precise circumstances that He longed to entrust to us so that the blessings that He longed to lavish on us might be known. He does so with the tender hope that we might take up the task of becoming what He knows us to be: unrepeatable living instances of His infinite glory made known. For the world that the Father longs to bring to completion would not be complete without each soul that He has summoned into existence. It is with this same love that Christ comes to save us—and respectful of our freedom, by this very love He waits for us to allow Him to make known the vast horizons of the Father's Heart. Time and space race behind the fruitful tenderness of such magnificent love. Unveiled in a multitude of unrepeatable surprises and astonishing moments of grace, the very newness of this love brings into being all that the Father's heart has most treasured. In the center between visible and invisible, holding together what is most lowly and most exalted in creation, He places the mystery of the human heart. All the cosmos holds its breath over the revelation of each new image and likeness of His love, each new end point in eternity showing forth a glory that would otherwise be hidden. Such is the inestimable treasure entrusted to the world in each human life, this image and likeness begun and still in progress, for the sake of whose fullness the Holy Spirit with all of creation pants in labor. Not whimsical. Not accidental. Solemn, majestic, purposeful. Such eternal predilection toward humanity is irrevocable by virtue of being divine and, therefore, unchangeable, the still point around which all other cosmic and personal activity plays out. To choose this love is to choose a truth so meaningful that this present life cannot contain or fully express it. Yet in the shadow of this immense love, every other love finds its rest and solemn place in life even at the moment of death. Such eternal love in its sheer sovereignty is not dissuaded by weakness or sluggishness, poor results or even betrayal. Instead, this mighty flood incarnate in human nature patiently suffers all things until fruition finally overflows the floodgates that attempt, in vain, to contain it. This self-emptying and humiliated love is forever confident and undaunted even as it breaks out in blood sweat prayers. Like a Bridegroom coming from His tent, nothing, not death nor any malicious power, thwarts His course. Those who would oppose the awesome majesty of this divine tenderness will be broken between the surging tides of Divine Mercy and the rocky fastness God's Justice. For, on this rugged solitary shore line, unveiled and realized is that singular cruciform greatness for which humanity is pre-destined. Thus has Christ come to renew the Father's love. He plunged undaunted into our suspicions and self-contradictions, our drivenness and despair, our grasping for control and lack of self-control, our haughtiness and shame. He took hold of the cup that contained all the pain and bitterness that threaten the noble greatness for which we were made. He drank it in and suffered that hostility until He brought it with Him into death. Neither that death nor that hostility was enough to quench His love. For His love was given to Him by the Father—and the Father's love raised Him up unvanquished. Whenever invited, He enters the abysses of misery that we suffer with this same radiance of His glory. With gentle kindness, He exposes every threat to our integrity to the light of truth and, by moving us to tears, empties it of its power. He seeks us out even as we hide. He calls even as we try to close our ears. If we are asleep to love, Love Himself awakens us. He shines forth even as darkness draws near. The healing warmth of His radiant beauty is not diminished but revealed all the more wounded we come to Him. Do not think that what you have done is too great for God's mercy or that the Father has utterly rejected you. Such thoughts do not please your Father who is heart-broken for you and patiently awaits your return. How can the Father ever delight in your condemnation and humiliation when He created you for love and honor? How can He ever be content with you being mistreated and homeless when He longs for you to come home and enter into your rightful place? You were not made for meaninglessness or self-contradiction. There is someone who stands ready to vindicate your integrity, who has the power to remit sins, to infuse you with a love far greater than anything you have done. Do not assume that you must content yourself by stealing what belongs to pigs when a banquet of eternal joy awaits you. Instead, think on what the Good Shepherd has suffered for you and that His heart burns for love of you as He seeks for you. If you are lost, you are not abandoned. Leave what is beneath your dignity and set out for the greatness that your Father longs for you to know. Put away the deeds of darkness and make no provision for earthly desires. To put on Christ and be clothed in His light, ponder the radical lengths to which the Father has gone for you so that you might hear His Word and know how loved you truly are. In stillness, surrender yourself to Him and ask Him to help you. If you are sincere, He will not refuse you. Since He has held nothing back for your sake, hold nothing back from Him. Put on the armor of light and live as if in the daylight—this is our pathway home. After Christ has suffered so much for your sake, do you think He will refuse your repentance or that your contrition will not be the source of heaven's joy? The Good Shepherd will bind your wounds and help you find rest. The Lamb of God is ready to walk with you through any dark valley that you face and, and not even the shadow of death can stand between you and the love He has for you. With eager longing, He longs to sup with you. More than merely managing along, He yearns for you to share in the same abundant banquet of love that He shares with the Father. Untold riches are yours for the asking. A fount of mercy waits to quench your parched lips. With an overflowing cup of blessing, He is eager to give you cause to rejoice even in the face of your enemies. He knocks at the door even now hoping that you might open to Him. Fear not to open wide the doors to Christ.

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