“Love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18

 

A Guest post by Fr. Joel Fortier

God is hopelessly helplessly in love with us! God created us; we are God’s handiwork, the apple of God’s eye, the work of God’s hands! God delights in us!

God is ever faithful, God cannot be other than who God is, God is Love! God is total unequivocal pure love, pure positive energy and light. “God is light, and in God there is no darkness at all!” (1 Jn 1:5)

In that purity of love is freedom, the freedom to be vulnerable, the freedom to lay down your life in love. “No one takes my life from me, I lay it down freely.” (Jn 10:17-18)

That is the freedom love gives us, freedom from fear; the freedom to be vulnerable, completely vulnerable just as Christ was, to freely lay down our lives.

Just as lovers sometimes feel hopelessly helplessly in love when people capture our hearts, smitten with Cupid’s arrow, so did our God let his/her heart be captured by us. And what did we do with it when we captured the Sacred Heart of Christ? We pierced it with an arrow; we lanced it with a spear, and out flowed the blood of Christ, washing us and our robes white in the blood of the Lamb, in the pure love of God.

Why did, why would, our God do that? So that the incredibly faithful and vulnerable love of God for us might cause us to trust love, to be as vulnerable, to lower our defenses, free from fear, free to love, allowing our hearts to be captured and enraptured by God. It is to fall into the arms of love, surrendering our wills to the will of God…to be loved; to be caught up in the net of love Jesus casts for all people, just as God is caught up in love with us!

It is God’s intention to catch and raise us all up to share in the very Glory and life of God; to be held…as one with God in Christ, to be held…as one with God in Love…forever. God wants to be known and freely loved by us, just as we are known and freely loved by God, into eternity! (1 Cor. 13:12) The Beatific Vision! That’s what lovers do! What a great way to spend eternity, gazing into the face and eyes of God, falling more and more deeply into infinite mystery of love!

That is the divine will, purpose, and plan God revealed to us in Jesus. (Jn 6:38-39)

“Fear is useless, what is needed is trust” (Mk 5:36) Take the leap! Let yourself be caught!

Happy Valentine’s Day, lovers!

________________________

Born in1942 to French Canadian parents, Fr. Joel Fortier, along with his three siblings grew up in an environment steeped in Catholic spirituality and practice. He entered the University of Illinois before seminary to study Psychology, Education, and Philosophy. In 1969, Joel was ordained with a Master of Divinity from St. Meinrad Seminary for the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois with extensive work and training in inner city parishes, and peace and justice movements. Joel received his Doctor of Ministry from St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore. He has worked with Marriage Encounter, Cursillo, and Charismatic movements integrating with parish pastoral ministry. He is the Founding Director of the Center for Family Ministry for the Diocese of Joliet. Fr. Joel was the Pastor and founder of The Lisieux Pastoral Center of St. Theresa Parish in Kankakee, IL,the Pastor of St Isidore Parish, Bloomingdale IL, and most recently the Pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle in Naperville, IL. Now retired from full-time parish ministry since 2013, Fr. Joel continues to live out his core statement: “To help make love happen, anywhere and any way possible.”

2 thoughts on ““Love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18

    • Thank you, Fran! It really is a beautiful image–reminds me also of Jesus’ words to Peter when his nets were filled to the point of tearing. And that allowing oneself to be captured requires a desire to be not a single fish in the net but one of many gathered in the divine gathering of the dispersed—reunited at once in God’s love—fully vulnerable to love’s piercing. And it seems to me that humans often evade this being captured, perhaps mistaking reunion or commitment for a loss of freedom, when in fact “being caught” symbolizes being liberated from lifetime of solitary and aimless wandering. It’s all very difficult and abstract, but I believe it is the truth.

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