1 Jn 4:7-10
My dear friends, let us love one another, since love is from God and everyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. Whoever fails to love does not know God, because God is love. This is the revelation of God’s love for us, that God sent his only Son into the world that we might have life through him. Love consists in this: it is not we who loved God, but God loved us and sent his Son to expiate our sins.
The word “love” is perhaps one of the most commonly heard terms in the world, but it is often misunderstood. That is why it is worth reflecting a little on the essence of love. Nothing can help us to understand it better than meditating on God’s love for us. The text of John’s letter makes it clear that He loved us first, before we could reciprocate His love.
God’s love for us is, in the first instance, the great YES that He always pronounces over us and never ceases to repeat. Although we may evade this YES and interpret it as a NO, God’s YES always stands. God can only love, because He is love Himself! Everything in Him and everything that proceeds from Him testifies to love, for this is His being.
We experience this love in various ways: It manifests itself to us in goodness, in mercy, in Creation, in His providence, in the way He educates us, in His salvation and Redemption, in His protection and assistance; we experience it as a “spiritual sun” that warms us, as true joy, etc… All these expressions proceed from the same love, just like the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which, although each has its particularity, flow from one source and are manifestations of the love of God, which is the Holy Spirit Himself.
Since we were called into existence because of this love and in this love, we are so sensitive when it comes to love. Without love, everything withers away and does not find the deepest meaning of being. St. Paul even goes so far as to say that even the greatest charismatic gifts are worthless if they are not permeated by love:
“Though I command languages both human and angelic – if I speak without love, I am no more than a gong booming or a cymbal clashing. And though I have the power of prophecy, to penetrate all mysteries and knowledge, and though I have all the faith necessary to move mountains – if I am without love, I am nothing. Though I should give away to the poor all that I possess, and even give up my body to be burned – if I am without love, it will do me no good whatever. Love is always patient and kind; love is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited.” (1 Cor 13:1-4).
In fact, we can see it in our lives: Every lack of love wounds us, and a child who grows up without love withers in his soul. How many inner wounds arise in man because of the loss of a love, the lack of love or false love, in which one claims the right to possess the other!
It is no exaggeration to say that most of the inner problems of people, in one way or another, will be related to love.
Thus, we can understand why the reading presents love as the true principle of life, which unites us to God and testifies to our relationship with Him; or, on the contrary, if we lack it, it reveals that we have not known God, as St. John says.
The key to the knowledge of God, then, is in love. Therefore, we must, on the one hand, ask Him for it; and, on the other hand, also put it into practice: “Love is from God and everyone who loves is a child of God and knows God “.