God loves you. I’ve seen the same phrase posted in youth group classrooms and spoken in a variety of ways. But it was in prayer with the Catechism that God shared the Gospel with me once again. His love story for the world, for you, for me.
The beginning of the Catechism of the Catholic Church describes man’s search for God. This is not simply a religious pursuit but a need to satisfy the human heart. At the end of a rough day, when you feel alone or afraid, who do you turn to? At the end of a good day, when adventures and the people you love remind you of life’s blessings, who do you praise? In the midst of every high and low, we seek something more. The Catechism recognizes this longing in every heart. After all the teachings and doctrines of the Church, all of it “must be directed toward a love that never ends” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 25). The purpose behind all of this (every teaching of the Church established by Jesus Christ) is to point us toward Christ’s limitless love for us.
Do you know how much God the Father loves you? Because I certainly don’t. The answer that I will never fathom brought me to tears.
“The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for: The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists, it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 27).
Let this truth enter your heart. You have been loved into existence by God. The weight and gravity of His love for you individually holds you into this life.
But then there’s the devil’s temptation. What if God stops loving me? Will I cease to exist? Do not let the enemy get that far. Do not let fear win. God is perfect and “in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in His own blessed life” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1). God does not need us, but He doesn’t just keep us around either. But He created each of us to share life with Him.
Even with this great promise, we still go and mess it up. Sin enters the world because we do not trust in God’s infinite goodness. Yet, He still wants His plan for us to prevail. Separation from God does not have the final say and He refuses to leave us broken or alone. God the Father sends His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer a terrible death in order to bring us back as adopted sons and daughters. The betrayal, the mockery, the crown of thorns, the weight of the cross, the nails in His hands and feet, and every drop of blood was for you. Jesus’ sacrifice is our homecoming.
We are not meant to sit in the grief of Holy Saturday either. The story is far from over. Jesus rises from the dead. With His resurrection comes every soul back into communion with Himself.
We are witnesses of the resurrection, even as we live in a fallen world. Our God of second chances doesn’t stop there. Jesus gives us an advocate, the Holy Spirit. He invites us to the sacrament of confession, where we can be reconciled with God the Father. He unites Himself to us in the Eucharist, allowing us to consume His body, blood, soul, and divinity to be close to Him.
So in short, God loves you.