“Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only-begotten Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us we also ought to love one another. No man has ever seen God, if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us… So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:7-12, 16).
The revelation that God is love wasn’t disclosed fully to humanity until the incarnation of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit’s descent upon the Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it this way: “God’s very being is love. By sending his only Son and the Spirit of Love in the fullness of time, God has revealed his innermost secret: God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange” (CCC 221). This is an astounding revelation. Not only is God love, but we are also called to share in that love. It makes sense that God is love, since Jesus told us that the full summary of the law is to love God with all that we have and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31). All that Jesus says and does comes from a place of pure love.
Many people that I have encountered in my life who do not believe in God or who do not like Christianity have never heard that God is love. They usually have a misperception of God being a cruel slave driver just commanding people to do impossible things and then judging them for failing. Since God is love, all the commandments he does give his people and all of the judgments he does pronounce flow from love.
The chief manifestation of God’s love to mankind is Jesus Christ dying on the cross and rising from the dead for the sake of his friends and even his enemies. Love is sacrifice. God’s purpose in creation and in his plan for humankind is to express his own nature and glory. Since God is love, and love is sacrifice, then Jesus hanging on the cross fulfills the very expression of the glory of God. Since we are called to share in this divine exchange of love, this means we too are called to deny ourselves and carry our crosses daily.
May this revelation of God being love consume your mind, heart, and soul, and motivate you to live a life reflecting such glorious love.