20 Jun He is jealous for your love
In all humility, but with fiery boldness, God makes no bones about declaring His jealousy for us! For He says, “..I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me” – Deuteronomy 5:9
Isn’t jealousy a vice, then why does God possess it and in fact boldly declare it?
Deeper analysis of this so called vice, leads us to the book of Zechariah 8:2 “‘I am extremely jealous on Zion’s behalf, and I am jealous for her with great fury.”
- His jealousy is on behalf of us: God does not experience deprivation of self value, even if all mankind were to disown Him. However because He is perfect, He takes it upon Himself to undergo this jealousy on our behalf (which we do not feel), because of our lack of illuminated vision. Resultantly, we fail to realize that bereft of Him, we will be lost in deep pain and yearning for Him with sorrow, which, likewise deeply pains Him. In fact every kind of pain we have felt (apart from Christian persecutions), translates to an area of our lives, where we have disowned God (or His love) and have not realized it. After all, what is hell? A place of chaos and torture, only because at its core, the presence of God and all that goes with Him i.e. perfection and harmonious sanctity, are completely absent.
On the other hand, being completely fused with Him, will bring us happiness that is beyond our expectations, which the world cannot take away – no matter how much they try!
- Commitment and responsibility: When God brazenly declares that we are fully able to provoke His jealousy, these words are not sweet nothings, meant to thrill our ears or ego. No, they are like vows, showing an indissoluble covenantal love, which should awaken us to straighten up and reciprocate this love, in the fullest way.
His perfect, holistic love, yields a jealousy which is truly an expression of His flawless way of taking complete responsibility of us. To the point that, He demands that this bonding with Him, is not from the age of reason, but as in ancient Israel, all first born males had to be dedicated to God and all male children were be circumcised, this showed the entire family lineage’s dedication to a fiercely protective God. Today too, within forty days of birth, infants have to be baptized to enter into a covenantal bond with Him. It is for our wellbeing, He seeks to reside in us, even before we can understand all this, since He is fiercely committed to protecting us.
Though He thirsts for us to experience the joy of knowing His complete love, yet, He is extremely gentle and patient. In comparison, nobody else can give us, umpteen chances (even over and above 70 times, seven), in order that we turn back from our unfaithful ways.
Excerpt from the Diary of St. Faustina: Notebook 1: 71:
I was sent for treatment to our house in Plock, and there I had the privilege of decorating the chapel with flowers. That was at Biala. Sister Thecla did not always have time for this, so I often decorated the chapel by myself. One day, I had picked the prettiest roses to decorate the room of a certain person. When I was approaching the porch, I saw Jesus standing there. In a kindly way He asked me, My daughter, to whom are you taking these flowers? My silence was my reply to the Lord, because I recognized immediately that I had a very subtle attachment to this person, which I had not noticed before. Suddenly Jesus disappeared. At the same moment I threw the flowers on the ground and went before the Blessed Sacrament, my heart filled with gratitude for the grace of knowing myself.
Why is God jealous on our behalf?
- The Pain of separation:
Our hearts were made for You, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in you. -St. Augustine of Hippo
While we as children cannot understand, that since God is the only being who can reside in our soul, every unfaithful move of ours increases the gap between Him and us. This distance, which may not directly affect the flesh, will affect us, at our very core, causes deep restlessness to the point of pain and later physical damage. Though the soul is invisible and silent, it is superior and it must first be satisfied over the body, which needs to serve the soul, before serving itself.
An example of how the gap affects us, is taken from the life of Cain and Abel:
When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the LORD. – Genesis 4:3-4.
Ironically, it was Cain (not Abel) who initially had the idea and went ahead to offer a gift to God and soon after, his younger brother followed. Why then did Cain bother making this offering?
Maybe out of a sense of forced duty, to get things from God but not to express love. On the other hand, Abel adored God and viewed Him as sacred and a tender hearted Father, so his offering equaled to the same, that is, the best offering of a lamb. Resultantly, God delighted over Abel’s offering, which enraged Cain and furthermore God did not even accept Cain’s offering.
Cain welcomed selfishness and so the spirit of selfishness, worked quickly to cut and make the first tiny tear between Cain’s soul and God’s spirit. This made him disregard God as sacred and unworthy of his love. What he did not realize is that He was living solely because the breath of God was fused into his inner core.
Now selfishness, produced unfaithfulness, as he made a poor offering and God’s displeasure, increased the gap. All this created a restlessness but Cain did not understand that this “cancerous” tug of war, was all happening within his own being, making him miserable and it was not because of Abel.
Since God knew this and with Cain’s growing restlessness, giving way to rage, He warned Cain. Not firstly about the anger he had towards Abel, but that he did not love nor regard God with child like wonder.
Cain would not give heed to listen and ponder, as he was so dejected with his ego ruptured, that he targeted Abel and murdered him.
Thereafter Cain’s soul was disconnected from the empowering love of God, and because he lacked power his flesh became sick (in a way). It was now accursed and no longer would his farming produce anything, but he lived as a wanderer and even had to leave his home and parents!
An example illustrating why God feels this exceeding jealousy, is based on the love of a greatly devoted mother of a toddler. Now she is most likely, going to be roused with jealousy, if her toddler related a lot to another lady as a mother (and not just an aunt or guardian). A child mistaking and preferring another lady to its own mother, will cause fears to set in the mother. The reason is that the child is choosing an inferior (lesser love) which is not good for its own wellbeing (even if the mother makes a few unintentional mistakes). The mother has the best interest at heart for the child and knows that no other love, is the purest form, for her delicate toddler. This love ignites a fierce desire to protect her baby and a self sacrificing desire to do everything to elevate the child, to its highest potential (for its bright future).
- When separation is succeeded by a diabolic replacement that causes further damage:
So what is the best for us?
In summary, it is the first commandment, “I am the Lord your God, “…You shall have no other gods before me.”
Since God alone is our Father, He is enough for us (in fact, some saints practically lived on God alone, as they only consumed the Eucharist and not even a morsel of food).
However when we indulge in too much of a good thing (like family, occupation, etc) or show faithfulness to our passions, our soul is forced to bow and make room for these, gods and worship them.
Since no part of us, except the soul is the dedicated residence of God, our unfaithfulness does two things:
- Widens the gap between the soul and His Spirit
- Worse yet, it pushes aside God’s spirit and goes on to accommodate our idol, the third party to fill the gap. Only two beings were meant to be intertwined with each other – your soul and God’s spirit. Unknowingly, calling upon the third being, the diabolic spirit of other passions which is against the nature of God (and our nature too, as we are made in His image), brings the soul to experience desolation, panic and finally sickness.
The harmony between God and us, is similar to that of the body’s organs and blood. In happily living with each other, the body tends to become strong, productive and happy – since they are all of one stalk.
The moment a foreign substance (virus or bacteria) begins to infiltrate, it threatens our wellbeing and the harmonious marriage of the love between the red blood cells and organs.
In response, how has God trained the body to act?
Destroy the destroyer and protect the body from further break down. Who is the destroyer? That seemingly “jealous and lonely” foreign body (the wicked one who envies the love God has for us and the marriage between His spirit and our soul).
If our bodies are automated to respond wisely (in our best interest), our mind must adapt in the same way for our best interest, towards “foreign” passions.
Allowing His Jealous love, to totally consume us
As we draw towards or long more for our creator, our soul seeks to be fiercely entwined with God, so that we enjoy this dynamic presence of the Master of masters.
Certain gaps of unfaithfulness, as little as a “spiritual micrometer” (sins, even forgotten ones of the past that we may no longer indulge in, but forgot to repent of) now come to light, through the Holy Spirit and become too painful not to renounce.
This is similar to St. Peter (after the resurrection) being made to declare three times to Jesus that He loved him, so that He feels a reconnection with God.
With our sudden deep interior desire for the need to fuse more with Jesus, we realize our greater gain would be to allow no more room for these gaps, but give even that micrometer of “space”, for the complete happy occupancy of our beloved Master, who enjoys being with us.
“What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ” – Philippians 3:8
Besides the love of God bringing us to completely renounce and dislike the sins of the past, we will now feel less tolerant to any forthcoming distance between God and us. To such a point, that God Himself, will allow us to feel the weight of this venial sin, so heavy, that we will immediately turn back to Him, with joyful repentance.
Leaving sin behind, more and more, and walking towards the light, does not come because of complying with the law or because we fear God demands it, but it comes from the fusion we seek with God and the great respect we now have for Him and fully believe all His laws are to benefit us. Thus in His perfect wisdom, He did not create us to stick close to Him out of fright (though that is the last resort He may use).
Theologians often say, if you are greatly chosen by the Lord, you may often find yourself being corrected by Him. While you may hate it, because of the pain, it is due to His mercy for you that He permits this.
If however, a soul continues to sin without going checked (which means he escapes punishment), he should be worried because God, does not seem to shake up that soul, causing him to repent – for the sake of his own salvation.
While one human may punish another for sinning against them, on the contrary, God’s love will allow the soul to undergo consequences, because He wants the soul to stop harming itself.
His love closed-in on us, when He visibly declared it by hanging naked on the cross, humiliated, under hours of agony and torture, stretching out his two arms, crying for our love, for us to return back to His embrace.
Jesus – “The Hound of Heaven”
After the English poet Francis Thompson, experienced this sweet jealous love of the Lord, he penned this experience in a famous poem, where he calls Jesus the “The Hound of Heaven”
|This Christian poem has been described as follows: “The name is strange. It startles one at first. It is so bold, so new, so fearless. It does not attract, rather the reverse. But when one reads the poem this strangeness disappears. The meaning is understood. As the hound follows the hare, never ceasing in its running, ever drawing nearer in the chase, with unhurrying and unperturbed pace, so does God follow the fleeing soul by His Divine grace. And though in sin or in human love, away from God it seeks to hide itself, Divine grace follows after, unwearyingly follows ever after, till the soul feels its pressure forcing it to turn to Him alone in that never ending pursuit.” J.F.X. O’Conor, S.J. Source: https://anastpaul.com/2017/10/23/the-hound-of-heaven-by-francis-thompson-1859-1907/|