How to Love Christ


#1

Dear fellows in Christ,

I am so glad to have found this website. I’ve been eagerly reading throughout the site and finding many answers to questions that have long nagged me.

There’s something that’s always bothered me and I’m hoping someone here can help me. Please don’t laugh if it sounds silly to you, or even blasphemous.

I’ve always felt a little creeped out by the nuptial language regarding Christ: how we are his “bride” and so on. I cannot be the first man in the Church’s 2,000 year history to feel uncomfortable with this, right?

I am perfectly able to feel - and often do - a kind of overwhelming awe and fear in the presence of our Lord. The Holy Eucharist almost always brings me to tears.

However, I must admit that I don’t really feel love - at least, not a strong love; and certainly not the erotic type of love that mystics apparently feel. Nor, oddly enough, do I want to.

Now, of course I can feel brotherly love for a good friend - and that can be incredibly strong. And, I can feel a disinterested, agape type love for friends, neighbors, mankind, etc.

And, I deeply love my wife - I love her so much it hurts. No love I’ve ever experienced seems as intense, and as deeply transformative, as my love for my her. I love everything she does; how she looks; and there’s something unbearably beautiful in our making love.

I feel I’m faced with a problem that perhaps is a wall in my own heart: I cannot fully love an abstraction. Maybe I’m all-too-human, but it’s really hard for me to deeply love what I cannot touch and be with physically.

And yet, to love God in the flesh as a man, seems utterly distasteful to me.

How can this be?

Is there something wrong with me?

Help!

~cawbs


#2

Don’t feel ashamed, you’re not alone. I love Jesus, but like you it’s not an intense love.
Many times I feel ashamed that I love my wife and children more than I do God. I don’t know why. I’ve examined my conscience and asked myself why and the only answer I can come up with is that my wife and children are here and now. I can see, feel, hear,
touch, talk, etc, to and with them. While with Jesus/God it is just a matter of faith, something taught. Something that has developed and is developing over time. I don’t know.
I just pray to God that he understands and that he helps me to love him more each day.
I hope my personal explanation helps you. Lord I believe, Help my unbelief. God bless,

PAX DOMINI

Shalom Aleichem


#3

Thanks for the thoughtful response. It is a mystery to me why I’m like this. Though, it’s good to hear I’m not alone! :slight_smile:

One thing that really concerns me: tugging at the back of my brain is the fear that if I were worshipping Mary I may not have this problem. When I have the courage to face this about myself, I then I wonder if I’m on my way straight to hell.

Lord I believe, but help my helpless unbelief too. Indeed.

Anyway, thanks & peace to you.


#4

No, my friend, God’s understanding and mercy will not allow you to go to hell. Don’t despair. As long as you have faith I’m sure your love will grow as I’m sure mine will. Also. please. worship belongs to God alone. We venerate all others, God Bless,

PAX DOMINI

Shalom Aleichem


#5

Thanks again for your kind words. I pray and hope you’re right about God’s understanding and mercy. You are absolutely correct about veneration v. worship.

Best wishes!

Yours in Christ,

~Cawbs


#6

I don’t necessarily think there’s anything wrong with being creeped out at the idea connecting erotic love and Jesus.

IMHO He probably isn’t really that sort of a lover, and it was just the metaphor or simile or analogy these mystics used to describe the overwhelming and all-consuming nature of His love for us, which surely does go beyone simple classification as totally agape.

Remebering that these mystics have been mostly celibates who would never have been in an eros-type relationship with another human anyway.

In fact I’d venture to say, and I think Pope Benedict said the same in Deus Caritas Est, that of all the forms of love eros is the most pale and imperfect shadow of His love. Look at how easily it’s twisted and abused compared to the other forms, after all.


#7

Don’t despair, I feel deep down many of us struggle through this issue, I know I do. Constant prayer and pleadings for enlightenment are not a bad avenue to pursue.
Even mother Theresa felt left in a spiritual wilderness at times, so it comes as no surprise that many of us mere mortals feel less than perfect love for Our Lord. Continue to pray and ask for the gift of that perfect love for Him.
Gerry


#8

I think that’s a good way to look at it. His love is infinite and cannot fit into human categories.

How do you describe our love - ideally at least - for him? Is it a kind of longing to be with him?

What I feel is mainly an awe and kind of fear - Otto’s Mysterium Tremendum seems like the best description for me. But somehow, that seems so passive - too aesthetic; I feel ashamed when people describe their overwhelming “love” for him; I don’t even quite know what they mean.

Remebering that these mystics have been mostly celibates who would never have been in an eros-type relationship with another human anyway.

In fact I’d venture to say, and I think Pope Benedict said the same in Deus Caritas Est, that of all the forms of love eros is the most pale and imperfect shadow of His love. Look at how easily it’s twisted and abused compared to the other forms, after all.

I’ll read Deus Caritas Est this weekend. Anything else you’d suggest.

Sometimes I wonder if eros is twisted/abused precisely because it’s the closest human analogue to divine love; and therefore the devil has a particular interest in twisting it? Just a thought :shrug:

Thanks for your thoughtful response LilyM.


#9

Thanks for your kind response gavanhe. I shan’t despair! - though I am desperate to understand what is keeping me from truly loving Him. I will do as you say. Thanks! :slight_smile:


#10

Surely there must be someone here who can describe how they understand *what it means to love Christ? *

Please? :slight_smile:

And I know, I know…and don’t call you Shirley!? heh!


#11

Hi “cawbs” Welcome to CAF! I’ll take a crack at it. Keep in mind, a couple things. First, I’m no expert. Second, I’m a woman. So… maybe I don’t fully “get” what’s bugging ya. :wink:

Mmm. Probably not. But I bet with a fair amount of certainty that those men who became saints, within our Church… were able to find the deeper meaning in the “analogy” between human marriage… and Christ with His Bride, the Church. It appears to me, that you (and possibly a lot of men?) are interpreting this teaching in a very literal sense. Or more to the point, in a physical sense. :hmmm:

In marriage between a man and a woman, there is always the physical act and there SHOULD be the spiritual bond. But in a Mystical Marriage (as with Christ and the Chuch) while there is ALWAYS the spiritual bond. There is no physical act. I’m a woman, and the thought creeps me out too! More to the point, it probably creeps Our Lord out!

Now, I have to ask you… WHO told you that mystics experience “erotic love”? There was recently an article in “This Rock” magazine, about Dan Brown (author of many anti-Catholic books) which talked about his ludicrous claims along these lines. It’s hogwash.

Ah, now we’re getting somewhere! :wink: I heard one of the priests on EWTN talking about this (sorry, I don’t remember which one); that males should love Jesus as their BEST FRIEND. For that, He IS. :thumbsup: He is the One… Who will never betray, never abandon, always forgive… and always protect those who trust in Him. Sounds like a “Best Friend” to me!

The answer to this “dilemma” is the Eucharist. In this Mystical way… ALL human beings can be united with Our Lord Jesus. There is no need for physical contact with Jesus, beyond His condescending to us, in Holy Communion. (Unless of course, He Wills further “contact” through an Apparition). Please also keep in mind, that we come into “contact” with Our Lord, when we listen to The Word. Sacred Scripture.

I hope that in some small way, this helps you. God bless.


#12

Meditating on Christ’s suffering while praying the Rosary’s sorrowful mysteries always seemed to be a helpful way in strengthening love of Jesus Christ by contemplating His Passion and sufferings on the Rosary’s mysteries.

St. Bonaventure wrote: "He who desires to go on advancing from virtue to virtue, from grace to grace, should meditate continually on the Passion of Jesus…There is no practice more profitable for the entire sanctification of the soul than the frequent meditation on the sufferings of Jesus Christ."

As for reading and perhaps empathizing with Christ’s suffering there is the remarkable The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ written by Saint Anne Catherine Emmerich, which in giving print to her mystical “observations” on Christ’s personal sacrificial suffering in His last days humanized Jesus to me and made Him more understandable to me. It was written in the 19th Century, hence some of the context, but this work alone has softened many of the hard of heart. God Bless! :slight_smile:


#13

This sounds a bit like asking someone to try to describe the colour blue to you. If you can see the colour blue, then you know what it is already, and really need no further description of it.

If you can’t see the colour blue (are blind or colour-blind) then no amount of description will really help you to understand.

If you MUST have a description, Corinthians Ch 13 (“Love is patient, love is kind …” etc etc) is as good a place as any to begin. When we exhibit these traits to others, we are loving others, and loving Christ in them. Some of them we can exhibit directly to God (not seeking our own way, rather His, for example).

Then, if Christ, being God, is love incarnate, we can look at how He lived His life, and treated others, and related to the Father, and base ourselves on Him as much as possible. The closer our imitation of Him the more we are loving.


#14

Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it will ease your doubts.

As far as how to love Christ, you can love Him by praying for this man: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=340907


#15

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