How much can we love the Lord if it interferes with his loving us?

We are charged with loving God with all our hearts, mind, and soul. So my question is: Is it possible to love the Lord so completely that we would give up our own salvation if it would mean his not having to suffer?*
May God preserve my insanity in order that my sanity should be the greater because of it.

John 13:8
Peter said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”

Or Mt. xvi, 22-23:

And Peter taking him, began to rebuke him, saying: Lord, be it far from thee, this shall not be unto thee. Who turning, said to Peter: Go behind me, Satan, thou art a scandal unto me: because thou savourest not the things that are of God, but the things that are of men.

To be in Heaven is to enjoy God face to face, without the possibility of losing him. To love God the more, therefore, is to desire Heaven the more. And since the only other final destination is Hell, to forfeit Heaven would be to forfeit God, which is contrary to the love of God.

I suppose if we consider abstractly (some of) the delights of Heaven in themselves, without reference to union with God, then we could say, from a kind of love, that we’d gladly have surrendered those delights (but not union with God), if we could have prevented the Passion. But this would surely be a misguided love, akin to that of St. Peter’s, quoted above.

If you would deliberately give up your salvation that can only be done by dying in a state of mortal sin and by definition that means you have rejected God’s love, not that your love is so great.

This reminds me of something I read from Mother Teresa:

For my meditation I am using the Passion of Jesus.
I am afraid I make no meditation,
but only look at Jesus suffer and keep repeating,
Let me share with you this pain!

If my pain and suffering, my darkness and separation,
give you a drop of consolation, my own Jesus,
do with me as you wish.

I am your own.

Imprint on my soul and life
the suffering of your heart.

If my separation from you brings others to you . . .
I am willing with all my heart to suffer all that I suffer.
Your happiness is all that I want . . .

I have begun to love my darkness,
for I believe now that it is a part, a very small part,
of Jesus’ darkness and pain on the earth.

I want to satiate your thirst

with every single drop of blood that you can find in me.
Please do not take the trouble to return soon.
I am ready to wait for you for all eternity.

Yes, I am familiar with this quote. It is a wonderful lesson Christ is teaching here. Done for the greater glory of God! Done in keeping with the reality we have found ourselves in now, after the fall. However, given the importance of free will in the decisions precipitating the fall of man, what if Adam and Eve chose to obey God? What if God allowed Adam and Eve to understand the consequences of their actions, including the necessity of redemption, and they chose out of a total love of God not to do something which would cause his suffering? Is this possible? Or is it necessary even impossible for it not to happen that God must suffer thereby making our love for him greater than would otherwise be possible? If this is so how does suffering add to love more than love without suffering?

It would seem that you are speaking of our good pleasure in being with God. In our desires are held the pinacle of our love for God. Who among us would desire suffering over joy and in so desiring our joy above all else is the only way to show the most love for God we can. Love is not selfish yet in desiring heaven through God’s suffering seems selfish. Love bears all things yet we would not bear losing heaven that God should not have to suffer? Did Christ not say he who would not lose his life for me is not worthy of me? If it would be pleasing to God that we would lose this mortal life for him how much more love can we show if we be willing to lose our immortal life that he may not suffer? Can there be a greater love than to suffer that another’s suffering might be eliminated? That one would give ones life for another?

Peter didn’t realize these things were necessary to God’s glorification. To choose not to glorify God is of satan. Does this mean it is necessary to the glory of God that he suffer and that we can show no greater love for him than that he should be allowed to suffer even if we were granted the ability to eliminate that need?
What does "union"with God mean to you?

Great point. And simple, I like it.
Bear with me alittle more though. Are you saying its impossible for us to love God despite our damnation? Isnt this why we need the sacrifice? No matter how much we may love God we are still in need of salvation are we not? Therefore we can love God in spite of the state of our salvation and we can express this love as not so much a rejection of his love but a kind of reverse sacrifice, ourselves instead of him. After all isn’t this why he was sacrificed for us? Because we rejected him and yet he loved us. Is our love for God only possible by accepting his suffering? Conversly, is God’s love for us only able to be shown through his suffering? Im saying should God give us the choice between salvation through his suffering or damnation without his suffering is our love for him the greater by choosing his suffering over our damnation?

Great quote. Seems a bit masochistic though now that i see someone else’s feelings on the subject. Somewhat self aggrandizing through self immolation. Something best left to the Almighty. This comes close to making me realize the impossibility of my original question and the necessity of his sacrifice over ours.
Bless you for sharing.

God may I glorify you in all I do. Even in my mistakes that I may glorify you by being given the ability to correct them.

Setarcos, you are clearly an intelligent and thoughtful person. The short answer I have to offer is somewhat unsatisfying - it is a mystery. The longer answer is still that it is a mystery, but a mystery worth contemplating. It was most notably contemplated by Augustine and Aquinas, and expressed in our liturgy as follows:

“Oh happy fault that earned for us so great, so glorious a Redeemer!”

Yes, God allowed evil to enter the world so that He could bring about an even greater good. It is a great mystery, as your very question attests to.

I don’t understand your expression “state of salvation”. You are not saved while alive. You are saved (or damned) at death.
We should all strive to live a life as sin free as possible because nobody knows when their time will come.

If you die in a state of mortal sin it means you have REJECTED God’s love.

Accepting a gift is not selfish in itself; what makes it selfish or not is the attitude of the receiver. Do we take it for granted, or are we grateful?

“All things” means those things which God has ordained; there are no other things.

Apples and oranges. Separation of the soul from the body is not bad in itself, but separation of the soul from God is bad in itself, and something that God wills that we avoid. To will something contrary to his will is sinful and therefore not loving.

You admit they were necessary, yet you propose that we will otherwise?

In general, it means I partake of the divine nature and thus enjoy intimate spiritual friendship with my Creator. In Heaven, it also means I behold my God face to face; that is, my mind enjoys infinite beauty, truth, and goodness, directly and without the need for symbols or analogies, and without interruption.

Thank you for the complement if a complement it was. I’m afraid being intelligent and deep thinking, while not in themselves a bad thing, are two primary reasons many people fail to hear God . Of course you may be mistaken in gauging my abilities.

Sadly I find it hard to accept labeling these things divine mysteries. It requires a total suspension of human understanding and potential. It’s all too easy to label something an impenetrable mystery when otherwise faced with seemingly contradicting or paradoxical situations. And way too easy when having to decide between the mysteries of God and those not of God to label the former Divine and the latter evil when the reverse may be the case. Of course anyone who takes the time to label these things does so under the guise of claiming Divine guidance. Ironically being itself a mystery of why the one should be guided to truth and the other to delusion.
As to allowing evil to bring about a greater good - that is THE mystery in my view. How possibly does allowing evil create a greater good when in the final analysis the state in the end would be indistinguishable from the initial state in the beginning?

May we live always in the belief truth will find us and we will recognize it when it does.

Thank you for your tolerating my ignorance. I pray your light may banish some of my shadows.
I believe you are not entirely correct in saying you must die to be saved. The bible tells us some will not taste the sting of death and yet are saved. Do you believe those living when Christ comes to judge must all first drop dead as a matter of procedure before being judged?
What i I mean by “state of salvation” is what condition your soul is in at any one point of making a decision. For instance you go to confession, get baptised, go to Mass etc. and after all this at this point you are saved. Should you die then, you are saved. However should your state change after these events because of choices made so that you now find yourself in a state of mortal sin because you did not die when in a state of being saved, should you die now you are damned. That is your state of salvation. At any one moment we are either saved or damned should Christ return or we die. That is why we must be vigilant.
I believe in either state one can love God. The one state you love God because you saught him, the other you love God because you seek him.
The question is : Is it a greater love of God to save ourselves by accepting his suffering or to accept our suffering so that he would not have to?

Sorry but I am definitely right about having to die to be saved (or damned). Nobody living is yet saved. You can do all you can to try to stay in a state of grace and hope and pray that when you die you will be in a state of grace but nobody alive can say they are saved.
You are wrong. At any one moment we NOT saved or damned. We are only saved or damned at the moment we die.

You seem rather confused. God wants us all to accept his love and join him in Heaven when we die. If you commit a mortal sin, which is a deliberate choice, you are rejecting God’s love and telling him you don’t love him.

Anyone who thinks that by rejecting God’s love and dying in that state (mortal sin) is a way of loving God frankly needs help. I would suggest you have a long talk with your priest/spiritual director.

It is “love of God” to accept His suffering and His salvation. It is “rejection of God” to deny Him suffering…because our only way to be united with Him is to accept His suffering. To “accept our suffering” in an eternal sense, means eternally being without God…which mean choosing to be eternally without God, which is equal to rejecting Him…which is NOT “love of God”.

Not sure why you think human potential must be suspended to accept these things? Surely if our faith is correct, our potential is fulfilled in it, not hindered by it. One could say that’s begging the question, but your question wasn’t in regard to defense of faith as far as I saw it.

But that is not the belief. The belief is that a greater good has been (will be) acheived. You could not love God if God did not allow you the choice to love Him, which includes the choice not to love Him. The choice is what allows evil, but also allows the greater good of God choosing to love us and us choosing to love God.

Dont be sorry. It’s not often I chat with people who are absolutely certain they are correct in their knowledge and understanding.
Kind teacher I thank you for your rebuke. That you would take the time to correct my ignorance shows you care for my welfare. Though it is alittle rough towards the end.

That said… I never claimed that anyone alive now is saved. Only that they are in a state of being at any one moment which will be actualized upon Christ’s return and final judgement. I still maintain though that not everyone must die to be saved.
Why do I believe this? Enoch and i believe Elijah did not “taste death” before God took them. Would you deny they were saved? Also I presume at least some of us will be living when Christ returns.
The bible says 1TH 4:15 " For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord , will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven …And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord."
However you interpret the “rapture” I believe this indicates that some will be spared the indignity of dieing before being saved. I guess we could discuss the difference between dying spiritually and dieing in the flesh if that’s a confusing factor between us.

It’s not the first time someone has told me I’m confused and need help. I’m sure it won’t be the last. I believe I’ve made the mistake of not clarifying my thought experiment here.
It must be obvious to you that Christ has already been crucified. Therefore it would make no sense in deluding ourselves into believing now that if we reject crucifying Christ we would be showing a greater love for God than if we crucified him. That decision has been made. Now to reject the sacrifice is to reject God’s love. Though I believe we may still loath the necessity of the sacrifice and love God.
My premise is this - God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten…what if the world so loved God that we refused to crucify Christ ? - After all we are made in the image of God, should we not have been capable of sacrificing ourselves in his stead? Christ said who so ever is not willing to die for me is not worthy of me, what if we did die for him though we be not saved? Since his torture and suffering would be so abhorrent to our love for him being created in his image in the first place.
Is his love for us and ours for him contingent upon his suffering? No suffering, no love? If his suffering is a necessary part of existence then Adam and Eve’s choice could not have been made as an act of free will.
Free will demands the availability of choice and the ability to choose. What then if Eve had chosen not to listen to the serpent? This seems to indicate that Christ’s suffering is not a necessary part of existence. Only a contingent part. If so then surely it shows more love to wish for less or no suffering than suffering for the sake of others? If that is the case then though Eve made the wrong choice bringing death into the world, being made in the image and likeness of God we are capable of desiring others not to suffer in our place even though we ourselves should suffer and is it not showing a greater part of love for God to do so?
Following this line do we not have the full fruition of love that we can only love God by accepting his sacrifice and suffering and being able to do no other thing that will not damn us and cause us to be in rejection of Gods suffering because of his love for us? Yet we suffer in good conscience because of this necessity, making love contingent upon suffering.

God bless you and save me from this world

I’m not sure how we could deny God his suffering since it is an act of his will.
Why is it his will, do you suppose, that we cannot be united with him unless he suffers and we accept his suffering in turn suffering ourselves with this knowledge? Our reward only realized because of suffering?

God may well love us in spite of our desires and or actions but is it impossible for us to love God inspite of his desires or actions though it may mean our death? Because we are made in his likeness and image we must surely have the capacity to desire alleviating the suffering of others through our own sacrifice, if this is possible, as a direct result of the extent of our love. And are we not told to love God completely…mind,body, and soul? Knowing you may never see them again who among us would not sacrifice ourselves to save our loved ones though they would desire to do the same? Does this mean we reject them because we reject their desire to do so? Does it not spoil the love to know that the ones love demands acceptance of their suffering while at the same time the others love though charged to be total cannot do the same?

Please Lord help me to help myself help others to lead me to truth.

Correct. That wasn’t what I meant. You had asked if it would be “greater love” to “accept our suffering so that he would not have to”. But we have no control over whether or not God suffered [on the cross]. He did, and it would be a rejection of His salvific act for us to attempt to spare Him that cross. Our future, without the cross, is eternal death. So, to “accept our suffering so that he would not have to” is to accept eternal death.
And that’s the exact opposite of what God wants for us, so it would also be a rejection of God’s Will to “accept our suffering so that he would not have to”.

Why is it his will, do you suppose, that we cannot be united with him unless he suffers…

If you recall, from Genesis, it was the consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin. God’s Will is for us to be with Him. Adam and Eve’s sin is what caused us to need an eternal act of redemption in order to achieve that.

…and [His Will that] we accept his suffering in turn suffering ourselves with this knowledge? Our reward only realized because of suffering?

Are you so opposed to God suffering that you would put your own will above His? Do you really think it is an act of love to say to God, “no, I don’t want you to have suffered, even though you decided to, so I will set my will against yours”? Who is the Creator here? And why have we deemed ourselves worthy to tell Him whether we will for Him to [do whatever…including suffering]?
Is it not perfectly acceptable to say, “God, I don’t understand your ways, but I accept 100% of it because you are God, and I am not.”?

It’s His Will that we accept it because that’s the way He paved for us to be united to Him. It isn’t His Will that this should cause us suffering, and in fact, it shouldn’t. I am thankful and full of joy that He did this for us. While I am sad about the fact that my sins also nailed Him to that cross, I don’t suffer knowing that He willingly died for me. Rather, it inspires me to be like Him, and to be willing to suffer with Him and join my sufferings to His.

… Because we are made in his likeness and image we must surely have the capacity to desire alleviating the suffering of others through our own sacrifice, if this is possible, as a direct result of the extent of our love. And are we not told to love God completely…mind,body, and soul?..

You can’t very well alleviate God of His cross without also accepting eternal death…which is contrary to God’s Will. If you feel so strongly that He had to suffer for your sins, should this not make you want to love Him all the more, and accept what He did for you? His suffering is a gift for us…one with an eternal reward. I don’t know about you, but I would not reject a meager gift from a co-worker, let alone an eternal one from my God…just because I think He had to suffer too much for me in order to give it. Who am I to snub His gift on the basis of my own opinion about His suffering?

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