THROUGHOUT the recent trials our family has endured, something of God’s nature has emerged that I find deeply moving: He is jealous for my love—for your love. In fact, herein lies the key to the “end times” in which we are living: God will no longer put up with mistresses; He is preparing a People to be exclusively His own.
In yesterday’s Gospel, Jesus states bluntly:
No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon. (Luke 16:13)
This Scripture tells us both about ourselves and about God. It reveals that the human heart is made for Him alone; that we are fashioned for more than erotic expression or temporal pleasures: each human being is created to commune with and in the Holy Trinity. This is the gift which sets us apart from every other living thing: we are created in the image of God, meaning we have the capacity to share in His divinity.
On the other hand, Jesus reveals implicitly that God wants us to himself. However, it is not because the Lord is insecure and compulsive; it is precisely because He knows how utterly blissful we can be when we abide in His love and interior life if we but abandon ourselves to it. Only in “losing one’s life” can we “find it,” Jesus said.Matt 10:39 And again, “whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:33 In other words, God’s “jealously” for us is not rooted in some kind of distorted self-love whereby He is afflicted by our lack of attention. Rather, it is based entirely in a sacrificial love in which He has willed to even die in order for us to be eternally happy.
And this is why He permits trials: to purify us of our love for “mammon” instead of Him, to make room for Him, as it were. In the Old Testament, God’s jealousy was frequently linked to His “anger” or “wrath.”
How long, Lord? Will you be angry forever? Will your jealous anger keep burning like fire? (Psalms 79:5)
They stirred him to jealousy with strange gods; with abominable practices they provoked him to anger. (Deuteronomy 32:16)
This certainly sounds like human insecurity and dysfunction—but only if we interpret these texts in a vacuum. For when set in the context of the whole of salvation history, we discover the real motive behind God’s actions and “emotions” in the words of St. Paul:
I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I betrothed you to Christ to present you as a pure bride to her one husband. (2 Corinthians 11:2)
God, in the person of Jesus Christ, is preparing a holy people for himself in order to consummate the whole of human history in a “final act” that is rightly called a “wedding feast.” That is why it is so fitting that the Virgin Mary, the Immaculate (who is a prototype of this “holy people”) was sent to announce at Fatima that, after the apocalyptic struggle we are passing and about to pass through, a “period of peace” will emerge whereby the “woman clothed with the sun” who is “in labor” gives birth to the whole people of God upon the “day of the Lord.”
Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory. For the wedding day of the Lamb has come, his bride has made herself ready. She was allowed to wear a bright, clean linen garment. (Rev 19:8)
I will bring the one third through the fire; I will refine them as one refines silver, and I will test them as one tests gold. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them; I will say, “They are my people,” and they will say, “The Lord is my God.” (Zechariah 13:9)
They came to life, and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Rev 20:4)
Church Father, Lactantius, puts it this way: Jesus is coming to purify the earth of those who worship mammon in lieu of His love in order to prepare a Bride for himself before the end of the world…
Therefore, the Son of the most high and mighty God… shall have destroyed unrighteousness, and executed His great judgment, and shall have recalled to life the righteous, who… will be engaged among men a thousand years, and will rule them with most just command… Also the prince of devils, who is the contriver of all evils, shall be bound with chains, and shall be imprisoned during the thousand years of the heavenly rule… Before the end of the thousand years the devil shall be loosed afresh and shall assemble all the pagan nations to make war against the holy city… “Then the last anger of God shall come upon the nations, and shall utterly destroy them” and the world shall go down in a great conflagration. —4th century Ecclesiastical writer, Lactantius, “The Divine Institutes”, The ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol 7, p. 211
ON A PERSONAL LEVEL
My hope is that, within the big picture, you will better understand and accept the little picture of your own personal trials and struggles. God loves each of you with an unfathomable, endless, and jealous love. That is, He alone knows the incredible capacity you have to share in His divine love if you but let go of the love of this world. And this is not an easy thing, right? What a battle it is! What a daily choice it must be! What faith it demands to surrender the seen for that which is Unseen. But as St. Paul says, “I can do all things in Him who strengthens me,” Phil 4:13 through Him who gives me the grace I need to be His alone.
But sometimes, it feels impossible, or worse, that God is no longer helping me. In one of my favorite letters to a spiritual daughter, St. Pio qualifies what seems like the “anger” of God as being, in truth, the action of His jealous love:
May Jesus continue to grant you his holy love; may he increase it in your heart, transforming it completely in him… Do not fear. Jesus is with you. He is working within you and is pleased with you, and you are entirly always in him… You are right to complain at finding yourself more often than not in darkness. You seek your God, you sigh for him, you call him and cannot always find him. Then it seems to you that God hides himself, that he has abandoned you! But I repeat, do not fear. Jesus is with you and you are with him. In darkness, times of tribulation and spiritual anxiety, Jesus is with you. In that state, you see nothing but darkness in your spirit, but I assure you on behalf of God, that the light of the Lord invades and surrounds your entire spirit. You see yourself in tribulations and God repeates to you through the mouth his prophet and that of authority: I am with the troubled soul. You see yourself in a state of abandondment, but I assure you that Jesus holds you more tightly than ever to his divine Heart. Even our Lord on the cross complained of the Father’s abandonment. But did the Father ever and could he ever abandon his Son, the only object of his divine pelasure? There are the extreme trials of the spirit. Jesus wants it so. Fiat! Pronounce this fiat in a resigned manner and do not fear. By all means complain to Jesus as you like: Pray to him as you wish, but adhere firmly to the words of him who speaks to you [now] in the name of God. —from Letters, ol III: Correspondence with HIs Spiritual Daughters ()1915-1923); cited in Magnificat, Sept. 2019, p. 324-325p
Jesus wants you, dear reader, to become His Bride. Time is short. Resign yourself to His jealous love, and you will find yourself…
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