Saint John Baptist De La Salle wrote a set of three meditations on one’s relationship with God, with one’s neighbor, and with oneself. Over the next three weeks, we will reflect on each of these three topics, beginning today with a reflection on one’s relationship with God. I know many come from different faith backgrounds, but it is my sincere hope that these reflections are useful no matter what one’s faith background may be.
The title that Saint John Baptist De La Salle uses for the first meditation is: “What we have done or failed to do for God this Year.” In order to understand this meditation, we must realize that God loves us first. Many people go through life without realizing that they are loved immensely by God. Before we consider our response to God, it is vitally important that we understand this part first – You are loved by God. He loves you individually and unconditionally. God created for you this beautiful universe with the earth, the plants, and all the animals. God has also given supernatural help as well, through the Incarnation, life, passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus, who gives us the opportunity for a new life of grace. God has given us the sacraments, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the Church. In addition, he has given numerous interior graces to your soul, such as lights and inspirations as well as the help of parents, teachers, and mentors.
What should our response look like to God’s love? “Our love for God ought to be so great that we love nothing but God or for God.” How have we returned the love that God has for us? Saint John Baptist De La Salle suggests three points for us to consider in returning God’s love: to have a high esteem for God, to attach ourselves to God alone, and to perform all our actions for God.
- Have a high esteem for God. “Have you often considered with admiration [God’s] infinite greatness? … Have you recalled that God was present with you everywhere?” Often at the beginning of activities at Saint Mary’s University, we pray, “Let us remember … that we are in the holy presence of God.” As we carry on our daily activities, let us be reminded of God’s never-failing presence. Never for a millisecond has God forgotten you. He knows every joy, success, disappointment, and trial that you experience. He knows your most secret interior thoughts and desires. In return, we are called to esteem his greatness. Do we pay attention to Him as we carry out our daily activities?
- Attach ourselves to God alone. “Because our soul has been created by God only that we might enjoy him, all our happiness on earth consists in being attached to him alone.” God does want us to enjoy the good things in creation, but in a way that leads us back to him. St. John Baptist de la Salle quotes from St. Augustine, saying: “My God, you have made us for you alone, and our hearts will never be at rest until they rest in you!” In other words, while we can take pleasure in the beauty of creation, our soul can only be fully satisfied in God.
- Perform all our actions for God. “Have you often reflected during this year that because God gives you life and helps you perform all your actions, all of them ought to be consecrated to him and that you do him injury when you do them for any other purpose except for him?” The real purpose that God gives gifts is so that He can give us Himself. God continues to labor for our good throughout our lives. At the same time, He gives us freedom to act for Him in return. He never forces us, but invites us to also labor for Him in our daily actions.
As we recognize God’s great love for us, let us seek to return His love. Live Jesus in our hearts … forever.
Note: Words in italics are taken from Meditations by Saint John Baptist De La Salle.