Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The Depth of God's Love

There were several things that struck me in each of the readings at Mass on Sunday, but it is the words in the very short first reading we had from Isaiah that keep coming back to me these last couple days.  As a refresher, here it is, from Is 49: 14-15:
Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me;
my LORD has forgotten me.”
Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
I will never forget you.
As short as this is, it stirred up several thoughts for me: pregnancy and miscarriage, abortion, child abuse/neglect, and most importantly God's great love for all of us.

It was miscarriage that first came to my mind when I heard this reading proclaimed.  Having loved and lost three unborn babies, I can't fathom the idea of ever forgetting them.  They have been and always will be a part of my life and a part of who I am.  No, I can't forget and I will always have a tenderness for them in my heart.  I don't understand why anyone would want to forget.  I know many people like to believe that a child was not present when they suffer the loss of miscarriage and try to forget and "move on" with their lives, but that seems to be a form of just covering up the pain of loss.  God would never do that to us.  He loves us all and He "will never forget you."

Secondly I thought of abortion and child abuse or neglect.  It is interesting that the question in the passage from Isaiah asks whether a mother can be "without tenderness for the child of her womb."  First notice the use of the word "of" in that line.  We're not just talking about the child in the womb, but all children who have been in the womb at some point, i.e. all of us.  The tenderness of a mother for her children is one of the most cherished things in human society.  Or is it?

With abortion and child abuse and neglect so common these days, it is sometimes hard to see a mother's tenderness in today's society.  Which is just so sad.  To see so many mothers choose abortion for their child rather than lovingly bringing them into the world breaks my heart.  One of the greatest gifts a mother can do is to bring a baby into the world and give that baby to a loving family through the gift of adoption.  And the thought of a mother abusing and neglecting her child ... oh how horrid!  But we know it happens and it saddens our hearts when we hear of it. 

Maybe at one time in history (Isaiah's time?) some of these things were unheard of.  A mother's love and tenderness for her child could be a nice analogy to God's love for His people.  Somehow I doubt it though.  I think, unfortunately, that the pain and suffering of abuse and neglect (a category that includes abortion, in my mind) has always been around. 

Yet there is hope which is the whole point of this reading, right?  God's love is beyond these things.  No matter what, He loves us.  And that love is so much greater than anything we know here on this earth. 

Contemplating the above brought me to that mind blowing conclusion: God's love is the single most important thing in our lives.  At least it should be.  This passage reminds us of that.  As much as we love our children and know we will never forget them, God loves us more.  It's truly a mind-blowing concept.  Unfathomable, really.  I honestly believe that we can not truly comprehend the depths of God's love for us.

We can imagine it, try to understand, relate it to the love we know and understand in our human relationships, but when it really comes down to it, we are all flawed humans.  Thus no love we experience here in this life can match the love that God has for us. 

I hope one day that I will make it to heaven and there will be able to experience the true depth of what real love truly is.  As much as I love my husband and my children, as much as I love my family and friends, and as much as I know I love God, none of it, I'm sure, can compare to the love He has for me.  For all of us.

A mother's tenderness for the child(ren) of her womb may be a good analogy even today for the love God has us.  But it is only an analogy.  Only in the next life can we truly understand what this means to its fullest extent.

What are your thoughts on this passage from Isaiah?

1 comment:

  1. I had many of the same thoughts you did about this passage- I think it is a perfect example of how even the best analogies eventually fall short.