So, on day three of the First Annual People For Others Blog-alogue, Tom throws one of my questions back at me. He thinks maybe he’s going to catch me flat-footed?
How do you know that God loves you?
Morristown, New Jersey. About 9:00p.m. on a sultry June evening in 1993. I am in the chapel of the Loyola House of Retreats spending some quiet and decidedly undramatic time before the Blessed Sacrament.
Suddenly, but again without any drama whatsoever, I was inundated with a deep-felt knowledge and awareness that God truly is my “Abba.” My daddy. God, I understood, is crazier in love with me than the proud father of a newborn baby — boundlessly and unconditionally embracing my every atom, my thoughts, memories and feelings.
For most of my life, my assent to God’s love was an intellectual exercise and I glimpsed this love only in fleeting and tantalizing moments. I prayed for decades to fully experience God’s love and, like peace in Northern Ireland, decided it just wasn’t going to happen. God had other plans, of course, and the grace was granted to me in New Jersey of all places. [Not that there’s anything wrong with NJ!]
I think of my life in “Before Morristown” and “After Morristown” terms. It was, without question, the most important thing that has ever happened to me. It was as if, having viewed the world in two-dimensional black and white, I suddenly began to see everything in glorious multi-dimensional Technicolor.
In the 16 years since it happened, I have never experienced anything like it again, but I have never for one single moment doubted that God loves me more than I can begin to imagine.
Could it have been an illusion and could I still be delusional about it all? Sure, anything is possible. I choose to believe that it is the most prefect and precious gift I ever received. My own Copernican Revolution.