“In the eyes of God, we are not, first of all, sinners, who can approach him only with fear and contrite hearts. The basic reality about me is not that I am a sinner, who will be loved only if I fulfill certain requirements. The basic reality of my life is that I am precious in the eyes of God. I am loved by God as though I were an only child. God’s love is not one of his attributes. It is his very essence. Thus, it is unchanging, whether we accept it or not; whether we open our minds and our hearts to it, or not.”
That paragraph is an excerpt from God’s Love: Reason for Hope, a somewhat lengthy article by Fr. William P. Clark, O.M.I. And, if you don’t get a chance to read the entire thing, here are a couple other paragraphs:
“God’s love is unchanging. There is nothing I can do either to reduce, or increase, God’s love. I can only graciously accept it, and find in it the fulfillment of my life. Christ did not wait to offer his love until we changed. It is because he loved us first, that we have the ability to change. In his first letter, John stated that very clearly: “It is not we who have loved God, but God loved us, and sent his Son to expiate our sins” (I John 4: 10).
“God’s love is unconditional. Otherwise, it would not be true love. True love is always unconditional. If I attach conditions to my love, it is not true love. It is, rather, an offering, an exchange, not a gift. In our human relationships, we tend to attach conditions to the love we give. In telling someone we love them, we may be implicitly saying things like this: “I will love you as long as you return my love. I will love you if you meet my expectations of you.” Because that is the way our human condition leads us to act, it is not easy to accept the fact that God’s love is unconditional. Being aware—often, only too painfully—of our brokenness, our failings, and our guilt, we feel unworthy of such unconditional love.”