From Pauses for Pentecost
Hope does not put us to shame
because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
There is an immense difference between knowing something with our heads and knowing something with our hearts. This is especially true when it come to the different truths of our faith. For example, it is one thing to affirm intellectually that God is love, but it is a totally different thing to know inside ourselves that God loves us personally with a love that will never let us go. For many of us, the longest journey in our faith walk is for our doctrine to travel from our heads to our hearts. When that happens, we begin to know God in firsthand, vital, and transforming ways.
In today’s verse, Paul reminds us that God pours God’s love into our hearts through the gift of the Holy Spirit. How does this happen for you and me? In God’s Kingdom divine love operates in two ways. It must be both received and given. We cannot give the love of God to others if we have not first received it. Receiving is always the first movement in our relationship with God. Then, we share God’s love with others. If God’s love does not flow through us to others, then we block the Spirit’s ability to our God’s love into our hearts on an ongoing basis. To what extent is this two-way movement of God’s love at work in your life today?
Perhaps this idea of God’s personal love is somewhat abstract for you. Remind yourself that the Holy Spirit is the deeply personal love of God in the here and now. Right where you are, ask the Holy Spirit to help you experience the warmth of your Heavenly parent’s love in your heart. Is there a blockage in your heart caused by a refusal to love someone you know? Set your will deliberately toward loving that person with the love of God. Ask God to help you to do this and to discern how best to express the divine love in a particular situation. As you do this, your heart will start to beat again with a renewed sense of God’s love. May the journey from your head to your heart begin!
Find a quiet space. Picture the faces of those who love you. Allow yourself to feel their love. Remind yourself that God loves you at least as much as the person who loves you most. Put your hand on your heart and ask the Holy Spirit to help you feel the love of God.