Recently, I went to reconciliation and the priest gave me an odd penance. The priest told me to go to adoration, to sit in front of the blessed sacrament and ask for Jesus to show me the love He has for me. It was definitely an "outside of the box" type of penance. I'm used to throwing out some Hail Mary's or Our Father's and being done with it but this one went a long way with me.
It seemed very weird. Why should I pray for Jesus' love? I know Jesus loves me. It's probably one of the first things I learned in my life. Heck, it's in the children's song, "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so." The fact that Jesus loves us and wants to have a personal relationship with us is what our faith is built around. He gave His life for us. If there is anything I'm sure of in life it's that there is a God and that He loves me. So what is the point of this penance??
The Holy Spirit was working through that priest it turns out. This may sound totally insane, but even though I know Jesus loves me, in some weird place in my head I
had doubts have doubts that Jesus really does truly love me. There is some portion of my brain that can rationalize that Jesus loves everybody--except for me. I mean if Jesus knows everything about me how can he possibly love me through all my faults.
Then it hit me. If I have trouble believing that Jesus Christ loves me then it's no wonder I sometimes have difficulty believe that those closest to me, and who know all my faults, truly love me. After all, Jesus is full of mercy. He desires to forgive me. He expects me to mess up. My loved ones?? I can't expect them to be as merciful and forgiving as Jesus is. Can I? After all, the depth of Jesus' mercy is like the ocean. Seriously? I'm full of faults. I can be difficult to get along with. I have quirks. I'm forgetful. I can be needy? Doubt me? Ask my wife. Ask my friends. Ask my family.
So, I wonder, why does my wife, my family, or my friend love me past my faults if I'm not ever sure Jesus, who is all-forgiving, loves me. There is something irrational about that thought process though. Why would I think that Jesus doesn't love me while I believe in His mercy? If someone is willing to forgive you for anything you do then there MUST be love there. If I believe in Jesus' mercy then I must believe in His love for me.
So, it's not rational thought that Jesus does not love me. So why do I have it? I'd like to call it a glitch. Just like a computer or a computer program may get a glitch in it I think there may be a glitch in me. I am the type of person who needs constant reassurance. When my loved one isn't around, I start to doubt their love for me. It only makes sense, that when I haven't been with Jesus in prayer for awhile that I start to doubt his love for me. Jesus is eager and willing to show His love for me just as my family and friends are eager to share their love for me. I just have to be more trusting.