Love Beyond Words

[ 2 ] September 24, AD 2013 |

Recently I was asked a question which I’ve been asked before and always sort of bothers me. While on a Confirmation retreat, a high-schooler said to me: “Why do you believe in God?”

Now, you might ask me why that question bothers me. As a youth minister and someone who says I’m doing my best to live out the Catholic faith, I should probably have an answer. And I do; that is not the problem. My problem with the question is not that I don’t know to answer the question, but that I don’t think I can adequately explain my answer. More on this later.

I’ve long wanted to have something of a thesis, a quote or verse or idea which dominates my life and prayer and thought. Maybe you’re like me, and you totally understand this desire: I like to set out knowing the main push behind something that I’m doing. If there’s a task, I want to know the goal of the task. When I play sports, I need to play to win, otherwise sports aren’t so fun.

When I try to think of a thesis, the verse which keeps coming to mind is this one: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). As far as a thesis goes, though, I’ve never been able to pinpoint why this one is so important to me. Is the Lord trying to tell me that I shouldn’t have fear? Maybe (probably). Is He trying to encourage me to love those around me more perfectly? Maybe, but probably not.

Maybe I always had a hard time explaining this verse because I didn’t understand it, or maybe I was just trying to find something more manly (I mean, love just sounds kind of girly sometimes). Lately, though, I think I’ve understood it. When the Gospel asks for my whole life, when Christ tells me I’m supposed to be ready to sell everything I have and turn away from everyone I love, it can bring me fear. Often, I want to tell Jesus that I love Him, but that it’s not fair of Him to ask me to leave behind the people and the things which I so cherish.

Then, in the back of my mind, I hear the voice of a priest who was very dear to me saying “it’s all about love” and it makes sense. The Lord knows I struggle to accept His love in a way which allows me to live in freedom instead of fear, and so He reminds me daily of His unfathomable love. He wants me to know that if I let His perfect love — that love which gives meaning to everything — penetrate my life, nothing will be scary anymore. In fact, in that love, I’ll be able to find peace, joy and happiness.

So I guess that’s what I should say when asked why I believe in God. I should tell them that I believe in God because I have been loved by a Love so perfect and complete that it removes from me all need to fear.

I’m not sure if I can really articulate that, either, but I know I believe it, and I think that just might be enough.

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Category: Columnists, Religion, Spirituality

About the Author ()

Jason is a Catholic youth minister who thinks that love casts out all fear. He is a diehard Chicago Bulls fan and dabbles in following hockey while doing his best to ignore baseball. He wants everyone to know that the Christian life is worth living and tries to write in a way which shows how true that is. He has a new website/blog, called Fulton Street, which will deal with art and modern culture, coming soon.