As I am writing this reflection two “important” dates are coming up: Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday.

Why would I put those two days as important or give them the same “weight” you may ask.  I believe they are related. Although in our secular world Valentine’s Day has become a day for showing love; candy, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine.  However, how can we look at only one day for showing love when every day we know the incredible love God has for each of us and we know it in our heart.  The heart that God has created in each of us; His heart in is our heart and our heart is in His.

This what the bible says about Valentine’s Day:  1 John 4:7-12. “Dear friends: let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

As each of us has experienced the Cursillo, the “heartbeat” of God comes out of the God’s Friendship talks on a weekend.  My experience is that once I know I am deeply loved by God I cannot un-know it, even when I try to forget it.  This is forever etched on my heart.  Is it etched on yours?

Ron Rolheiser, OMI writes “at the heart of our faith lies the deep truth that we are unconditionally loved by God.”

Do you believe that God looks down on your life and says:  You are my beloved child; in you I take delight?  Perhaps you do not doubt it but sometimes find it impossible to believe.

Do you still struggle with this knowing?  Knowing how deeply loved you are by God?

How do we discover the heart of God?  First, pursue time with Him in prayer.

I offer this reflection to get in touch with how deeply you are loved by God …

Psalm 46:10 – “Be still and know that I am God …” We need stillness to find God, but we need God to find that stillness.

God of stillness and of quiet …

Still my anxiety, my heartaches, my worries, and stop me from always being outside the present moment. Give me the grace to know that you have pronounced my name in love, that my name is written in heaven, that I am free to live without anxiety.

Still in me the congenital fear that I’m unloved and that I’m unlovable, that love has to be earned that I need to be more worthy.  Give me the grace to know that I’m a beloved child of a God whose love need not be earned.

Still my heart so that I may know that you are God, that I may know that you create and sustain my every breath, that everyone, myself no less than everyone else, is your beloved.  Nothing falls outside of your love and care, and that everything and everybody is safe in your gentle, caring hands, in this world and in the next.

As we enter into the season of Lent, a time to journey with Christ to his crucifixion, if we don’t first know how deeply we are loved by God, we may not be able to fully experience a dying and a rising.  To live fully in His love and experience the joy of the Resurrection.

To actually believe that we are unconditionally loved by God, we first have to “die” to our own false images of who we are.  Perhaps it’s those tapes from the past that keep us from knowing ourselves as a beloved child of God, the attachments that keep us from living in our truth, the anger or resentment of something in the past that with the help of God in prayer, we can let go of.  You can name whatever it is that holds you or binds you and keeps you from fully living … John 10:10 “…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

This Lent is a time to look at what you need to be freed from in order to be freed for a deeper knowing of how much God loves you!

So I invite you to come to know how much you are loved by God so that you may live fully in His love.

De Colores, Ann Marie Dodd