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Love desires to see God

December 9, 2010

One of my Advent resolutions, that will hopefully last throughout the year, is to pray the Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office). Now I don’t mean to pray all hours, but at least Morning (Lauds) and Evening (Vespers), and eat small portions of Office Readings throughout the day. In the near future, I want to pray all hours just like those in religious orders. I need to build my spiritual stamina first!

I would like to write more in-depth how Divine Office unites all of us in prayer, that at as we pray at any given moment, someone else in the world is praying with us. But that will be another time. I would like to share today’s Office reading via Divine Office.org:

The response to the first Office reading is:

RESPONSORY Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2

Awake and sing, you who sleep in the earth,
– for the dew of the Lord is a dew of light.

Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth will awaken.
– for the dew of the Lord is a dew of light.

Isn’t the use of dew as a symbol interesting? We find this also in Proverbs 3:20 “20 By his knowledge the depths break open, and the clouds drop down dew.”

The second reading of Office pierced my heart:

Second reading
From a sermon by Saint Peter Chrysologus, bishop
Love desires to see God

When God saw the world falling to ruin because of fear, he immediately acted to call it back to himself with love. He invited it by his grace, preserved it by his love, and embraced it with compassion. When the earth had become hardened in evil, God sent the flood both to punish and to release it. He called Noah to be the father of a new era, urged him with kind words, and showed that he trusted him; he gave him fatherly instruction about the present calamity, and through his grace, consoled him with hope for the future.

But God did not merely issue commands; rather with Noah sharing the work, he filled the ark with the future seed of the whole world. The sense of loving fellowship thus engendered removed servile fear, and a mutual love could continue to preserve what shared labor had effected.

God called Abraham out of the heathen world, symbolically lengthened his name, and made him the father of all believers. God walked with him on his journeys, and protected him in foreign lands, enriched him with earthly possessions, and honored him with victories. He made a covenant with him, saved him from harm, accepted his hospitality, and astonished him by giving him the offspring he had despaired of. Favored with so many graces and drawn by such great sweetness of divine love, Abraham was to learn to love God rather than fear him, and love rather than fear was to inspire his worship.

God comforted Jacob by a dream during his flight, roused him to combat upon his return, and encircled him with a wrestler’s embrace to teach him not to be afraid of the author of the conflict, but to love him. God called Moses as a father would, and with fatherly affection invited him to become the liberator of his people.
In all the events we have recalled, the flame of divine love enkindled human hearts and its intoxication overflowed into men’s senses.

Wounded by love, they longed to look upon God with their bodily eyes. Yet how could our narrow human vision apprehend God, whom the whole world cannot contain? But the law of love is not concerned with what will be, what ought to be, what can be. Love does not reflect; it is unreasonable and knows no moderation. Love refuses to be consoled when its goal proves impossible, despises all hindrances to the attainment of its object.

Love destroys the lover if he cannot obtain what he loves; love follows its own promptings, and does not think of right and wrong. Love inflames desire which impels it toward things that are forbidden. But why continue?

It is intolerable for love not to see the object of its longing. That is why whatever reward they merited was nothing to the saints if they could not see the Lord. A love that desires to see God may not have reasonableness on its side, but it is the evidence of filial love. It gave Moses the temerity to say: If I have found favor in your eyes, show me your face. It inspired the psalmist to make the same prayer: Show me your face. Even the pagans made their images for this purpose: they wanted actually to see what they mistakenly revered.

Truly it is amazing that God loves us! Out of all the shadows in history that speaks of gods who are powerful, unknowing, unreachable, the Christian God loves us so much he became man. God placed himself into human history by being born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is without original sin, as we celebrated the feast of Immaculate Conception yesterday, in order for us to become in union with Him– the divine love that has no boundaries–the Alpha and Omega.

Saint Peter Chrysologus, ora pro nobis!

The song is “Your Love Oh Lord” by Third Day. The lyrics are simple but powerful as the theme echoes Psalm 108:2-6:

2 My heart is steadfast, God; my heart is steadfast. I will sing and chant praise.

3 Awake, my soul; awake, lyre and harp! I will wake the dawn.

4 I will praise you among the peoples, LORD; I will chant your praise among the nations.

5 For your love towers to the heavens; your faithfulness, to the skies.
6 Appear on high over the heavens, God; may your glory appear above all the earth.

Lyrics to “Your Love Oh Lord”:

Your love, oh Lord
Reaches to the heavens
Your faithfulness stretches to the sky
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains
Your justice flows like the ocean’s tide
I will lift my voice
To worship You, my King
I will find my strength
In the shadow of your wings

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