When I was a teenager, all I wanted in the world was to fall in love and for someone to fall in love with me. I remember that every time I had some kind of relationship with a boy, I looked for symptoms of being in love, very much like I do now when I'm afraid that I'm coming down with the flu. Is my throat sore? Does my stomach feel funny? Why am I so tired, IS THIS THE FLU???
As a teenager, I knew all about love, what it looked like in the movies and on tv (Joanie Loves Chachi!) and what it was supposed to feel like. I think all teenagers are similar- especially girls, if they're like me- LOVE was the language of my teen years. I talk a lot about love when I describe having a relationship with God to teenagers now. I tell them that when I found out God loved me already, it felt to me like i was falling in love with Him. I suddenly wanted to know more about Him, I wanted to spend as much time as possible with Him, I thought about Him all the time. Love songs on the radio became hymns. I wanted my friends to know Him.
When I teach about evangelization, and about living in the Kingdom, I tell people we should be like people in love- wanting to tell the world about our new special One, glowing from the happiness of knowing Him. I say, "when you're at a restaurant or at a hotel, you can pick out the honeymooners, can't you? You can see it written all over them!" I say, maybe this is what kingdom-living looks like- maybe we should glow from the feeling of loving and being so loved.
What's funny is we spend very little time at church talking about God's overwhelming love for us. Oh it's mentioned, but sort of in the context of theology. Those of us from MY generation are mocked because we were catechized just post-Vatican II. Religious educators scorn "oh for you it was all crafts and 'Jesus looooves youuu'" as if that is the worst message one could teach or be taught about Jesus.
I wonder how different things would be in our Church if more people know about what it feels like to be in love with God? I wonder how many people would be surprised and changed- converted, if you will- to find out how much God loves them.
PS, God loves you!