Godís love for the world
We have to remember that how God loves the world should also be how we ought to love the world, and everything in it, whether it is attractive to us or not, favorable to us or not.
God’s love knows how to deal with all the possible conditions and situations, good or bad, that the world can get into, thanks but no thanks to the way we use our freedom. So we should not be afraid nor hesitate to channel that love that is actually proper to us, we being his image and likeness.
God loves the world because in the first place it is his own creation. Remember that in the story of the creation, he finished his work of creation by saying that “it was good,” and that he rested on the seventh day.
That means that he entered into intimate communion with his whole creation. He did not just create the world and left it to be on its own. He continues not only to be in the world, but also to love it, preserving and governing it with his all-wise and merciful providence.
And even if, due to our sin, the world got detached from God as to become one of the enemies of our soul and the source of temptations together with our weakened flesh and the devil himself, God continues to love the world.
“God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life,” we are told. “For God sent his son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” (Jn 3,16-17)
This should also be our attitude toward the world. We should not be scandalized by the sinfulness of the world and its detachment and even hostility against God. This condition of the world should somehow make our love for it grow even more, as it did in the heart of God.
In a sense, we could say that God could not abandon the world, even if it has gone nuts. Like the Good Shepherd as taught and portrayed by Christ, God will always look after the lost world just as the Good Shepherd would look after the lost sheep.
This kind of love is actually reflected in its basic form in our natural behavior, seen especially in family life. The parents, especially the mothers, will always love their children even if the children do not correspond to that love or even if they give problems to them. Of course, human as they are, as we are, parents can have limits to this kind of love. But God’s love has not limits.
This is expressed in that beautiful passage from the Book of Isaiah where it is said, “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” (49,15)
God loves the world because of his great love for us who are in the world. Let’s remember that most moving appeal of Christ to his Father just before he entered into his passion and death: “I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” (Jn 17,15-16)
Here, Christ is distinguishing between simply being in the world and being worldly. God’s love for the world, which we have to channel ourselves, simply affirms the world’s original relation to man. It is where we ought to develop our love for God. In itself, it is not bad. What makes it bad is when we make it our own God, our definitive domicile.
We need to be clear about the proper relation the world has to us, so we can love it the way God loves it.*
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