After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened (for him), and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove (and) coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17)
I started reading a book that I have had on my shelf far too long, Henri Nouwen’s “Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World.” The author (one of my favorite spiritual writers) uses this passage from Matthew to demonstrate the love and affection God has for his Son, Jesus. Nouwen then goes on to explain how God has the same type of love for us. We are God’s “beloved.” If you reflect on that concept for a while your heart begins to melt (well, at least mine does).
What a glorious thought. Our Lord and Creator, the one who knows us better than anyone, loves us completely, unconditionally, and for ever. He knows all of our thoughts and deeds (the good, as well as the bad) and still calls us his “beloved.”
At times, I struggle believing that I am lovable. I can struggle with loving and accepting others and their human condition, and I sometimes struggle loving myself. When I find these empty feelings, the void is not always “love.” The void is caused by not filling all the holes of my heart with the grace of God. My struggles come when I put myself first instead of surrendering to God. As St. Augustine says, “My heart will never be at rest until it rests in God” [paraphrased].
Read this passage from Mark, then read it a couple of times more. Picture yourself as being Jesus. Feel what Jesus must have felt when he heard these words of love and affection from his Father. Let it all sink in. Give yourself over to God and let him flood your heart with compassion.
Have a great day. Be at peace, and know that you are loved!