“You love me more than I am able to love you.”
That line appears in one of Met Philaret of Moscow’s prayers. And it makes me pause every time I pray it.
In my previous youthful zeal and optimism, it was so easy to proclaim my love of God as though it were a grand thing. My worship was a spiritual facsimile of Tom Cruise jumping up and down on a couch. But the older I become, the more I realize that the truth quoted above is woven into the very fabric of reality. And it has tempered my immature exuberance with what I hope is humility. For my love for God is not something that needs to be proudly proclaimed in public but humbly practiced in silence.
God is love and perhaps the greatest expression of his love was the Incarnation. It was THE event of divine love that would heal humanity and creation and yet it was shrouded in quietude, humility and mystery.
Jesus taught that the greatest command is to love God with everything we have. Again, love is not proclaimed but practiced. But how? The Incarnation whispers an answer for those quiet enough to hear. “God became like us so we could become like him.”
God, who is love, became like us so we could become love like him.
St Paul encourages us to pursue love. This means far more than giving and receiving love, although this would be a great start for many of us. Rather it’s pursuing Christ’s likeness, who embodied divine love as a real flesh-and-blood human being. We quietly love God by daily becoming the same kind of person he is.
The Incarnation isn’t just a historical event that we memorialize once a year. It’s a daily reality for those who love God. Just as God quietly and humbly slipped into his creation on that mysterious day, he still slips into his creation through our lives as we pursue love and become a little more like him.