God IS Love – 1 John 4:11-18 by Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ

In 1 John 4:11-18 we are reminded to remain in God [through love] so that God will remain in us. Beyond that simple—yet so profound!—truth, we learn that because “There is no fear in love…perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.”

Rather than fear an angry God, Fr. Michael identifies that as Catholics we often relate to God’s vulnerability as an infant born in a cave and as a defeated, naked man nailed to the cross.

Click the arrow below. Listen to today’s reading. Open your heart to remain in God’s love. Posted below is the text of Fr. Michael’s poem: Treasures from the Heart.

by J. Michael Sparough, SJ
“His mother treasured all these things in her heart” Luke 2:51

Virgin of the Napkin

Virgin of the Napkin by Bartolome Esteban Murillo

Blinded by light, with no wisdom of my own,
I stumbled into that cave by surprise to be
Graced when you placed your Son in my arms.
This tiny God Child so utterly, humbly human
He could not even hold His own head high.

This calloused heart shuttered, shattered,
Cracked wide to the Christ gift given.
Balm blessing the blisters of my soul,
Love radiating the cancer of my sin,
On my knees I beheld Him. I held Him.

To my Bethlehem of memory and imagination
Every year I know now I must return
Lest I forget, lest ashes of regret
Smother this fire, this joy of holy pilgrimage.
Behold! The Holy Face of God!

He is still smiling at me, at us,
Not as in a crowd, but held in His singular gaze.
Fear is forgotten in the silence of this night.
This is the Year of Mercy.
Grace in abundance: Christmas!

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