By Fr. Roy Cimagala
THAT “Benedictus” prayer that was said by Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father, as an expression of a most profound sense of praise, thanksgiving and blessing for the great favor he received, highlights the reality of the tremendous love God has for all of us. (cfr. Lk 1,67-79)
“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; for he has come to his people and set them free. He has raised up for us a mighty Savior, born of the house of his servant David…” And Zechariah went on, pouring his heart out, and in the process was actually making a most wonderful prophecy.
Why does God love us so much? It makes us to wonder why. Just consider these points which I am sure are not complete. In fact, they are still very far from complete, even if we think they are already quite exhaustive and overwhelming.
First, He created us when there was no need for him to do so. More than that, He created us in his very own image and likeness, taking the risk that we can replace him ourselves.
And when finally we, in Adam and Eve, fell to that temptation of replacing God, he continues to love by sending his own son to redeem us. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Jn 3,16)
And the son assumed all our sins by dying on the cross and resurrecting. There can be no greater love than this. God has done this because the Son, the second person of the Blessed Trinity, is the perfect image of God himself. And since we are the image and likeness of God, the Son has to repair that divine image of ours that has been deformed by our sin.
God in Christ continues to go through the process of redeeming us by dying and resurrecting all throughout time by sending the Holy Spirit, founding the Church and the instituting the sacraments, especially that of the Holy Eucharist. St. Josemaria Escriva has described the Holy Eucharist as God’s madness of love for us.
And the list goes on and on. It will never end. Again, why does God love us so much? We can only repeat some words of the Psalms: “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (8,4)
We can only wager some possible answers. One of them could be that it is precisely because we have been created in his image and likeness that God cannot leave us alone. In a way, we can say that he sees himself in us, no matter how much we deform that divine image in us.
In this regard, God is like the mother mentioned in the Book of Isaiah. “Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.” (49,15)
Besides, even in the natural plane, there is hardly any mother who will not clean her child no matter how dirty the child is. It’s instinctive of her to do whatever is needed to clean the child or to get him out of any predicament.
That, at the very least, is how God sees and treats us. He of course does a lot more.