(part 1 of 2)
[quote="Southern_Cross, post:1, topic:214575"]
I need your help, your advice and your prayers. I’m coming back to the church after a long absence. However I have a problem, I have a real difficulty feeling “love” I’ve never experienced it in my life, and consequently am convinced that I will never be able to experience it. I am struggling to stay commited to the church, and I think it is because I am unable to experience God’s love, and am concerned that I never will.
What can I do that might help me experience the love of God?
first i think it's important to stop thinking of this as a "problem", because it really is not a problem,
Although you may "feel" that you are loved, love itself is not a feeling, feelings can come from it, but love itself is an act of the will,
It is the will to do good for someone, or to please someone, either by sharing something of your own with them, or by doing something for them that they want,
there are two kinds of love, love of concupiscence, which is the love of someone for your own sake, because they are useful or pleasant to you,
and then there is the love of benevolence, which is a selfless love by which you love a person for their own sake, for their own good and to please them.
love of concupiscence is not bad necessarily, but it is an imperfect love, and can be bad under certain circumstance,
the love of benevolence is the love that we should have for God and for our neighbor, it is the perfect love also known as Charity,
the reason it is important not to look at love simply as a feeling, is because we should be aware at all times, in any situation, of the love we owe to God,
no matter how you feel, no matter what mood you are in or what troubles you are going through, you can always show your love to God, and as long as you have enough control over yourself to love God in all things, then you can see much clearer how God loves you at all times, even if you can't feel Gods love, He is always showing His love to you, it is simply our weak inclinations towards evil and our being slaves to our passions that blind us to Gods love.
and it is in those moments when you are feeling down or feeling moody or going through troubles that you truly prove your love to God,
anyone can be good and "charitable" with ease when they feel like it, but it's when things get hard that you are really tested, it is then that you prove, not just to God but to yourself, that it is God you love, and not just the good feelings and consolations He gives you.
that is also why it can be dangerous to become dependent on such good feelings, because then instead of being good and following the commandments and "loving" your neighbor for the sake of the love of God, you do it all for the good feelings...and that is simply not going to work out well in the end.
The love of God i am speaking of though is not a natural love that we can obtain on our own, instead it is a supernatural love, which can only be infused into our souls by God,
this supernatural love of God consists firstly in giving ourselves to God in the desire to belong entirely to Him, secondly, in the wish and ardent desire to please Him by fulfilling His will, and thirdly, in the wish to be united with Him for ever and ever.
What you must realize in your love for God, is not that you should feel His love, but that you should see it, you should see in all things how He loves you, what He has done for you, and love Him not simply because of what you have received, but because He truly deserves your love, and you owe it to Him for the least of what you have received from Him,
of course you might wonder, how do i love God?
well, as we are told in the bible - "He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me"
that means, you must have an active love for God,
our love is active when we do what is acceptable to God, such as keeping His commandments,
our love is inactive when it is simply expressed in our words instead of our hearts, it is like a body without a soul - dead,
we are told by St. Paul in this matter - "If I speak with the tongues of men and angels, and have not charity, i should be as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal"
or in another part of the bible we are told - "Not every one that saith to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doth the will of My Father who is in heaven."
in other words, God is not impressed with fancy words, which are only cold and empty while you do nothing to actually show your love.