It's All We Need

By Chris Sparks

[Jesus said:] “I do not reward for good results but for the patience and hardship undergone for My sake” (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 86).

God doesn’t need us.

It sounds harsh, but it’s true. God does not need us. He does not need any of us, anyone in history, any creature, anything created, anything outside Himself.

God is completely self-sufficient, perfect in and of Himself. He needs nothing and no one outside of Himself.

And yet He wants us. He loves us. He chooses to create and sustain persons outside of Himself, outside the divine nature, and to invite those persons to share the divine nature, to enter into the divine family, to become adopted sons and daughters of God.

He does not need us. It’s never been about need. It’s always been about generous love, the sort of love that always has a spare seat at the table, that always delights in the unexpected visitor, in the unannounced visit home, in the prodigal’s return.

It’s the sort of generous love that doesn’t just create one other, or only perfect, unblemished creatures. No. It’s the sort of generous love that gives freedom to His creations, that says, “If you want, I’m here. You’re welcome to the family.” And when we fall, He doesn’t give up on us. He doesn’t simply wipe out all of humanity from the earth, cast away all the angels, and hit reboot on the whole project of creation. No. He sustains us, again and again, across thousands of years of human history, making covenant after covenant, remaining faithful even as we are unfaithful, offering us choices again and again, permitting our choices to matter, to have real consequences for ourselves and for the whole human race, and helping us bear those consequences.

God does not need us, but man, does He love us.

That’s the context for the quote from St. Faustina’s Diary that opened this piece. Here it is again:

[Jesus said:] “I do not reward for good results but for the patience and hardship undergone for My sake” (Diary, 86).

It’s similar to a famous thought from Mother Teresa of Calcutta: “God has not called me to be successful; He has called me to be faithful.”

God has called us into a relationship of love. Because we love Him, we will of course offer Him the worship He is due. That’s what loving God according to His and our nature looks like. Because of the relationship of love, we will serve Him. We will love who and what He loves — that is, we will love our neighbors as He does.

And because we love, we end up at war with hell.

The whole Christian life, then, is conditioned by love, bounded by love, fueled and guided by love. It is our own love, elevated and transfigured by divine love, by the Holy Spirit flowing into us like sap into grafted branches. It is the love that created the cosmos, that saved and redeemed us all, that sanctifies and works miracles, that dwells in our hearts, our homes, our lives, if only we welcome Him in. It is love that gets us up in the morning and love that sends us to sleep at night. It is love that makes us work, and love that makes us rest. The fundamental basis of all morality is love, rightly ordered, with each relationship in its proper place: above all else, love of God; then because we love God, we love what He loves, and so we love our neighbor, our self, the created world …

And so we will, in the end, be judged on our love.

Because we love, we will be faithful. We will suffer what comes in order to stand by those whom we love, as the mother watches at night by the bedside of the sick child, or the father endures the labors demanded of him for the sake of his wife and children. The breadwinner will go forth from the home and do their job, bearing a great deal for the sake of the economic welfare of the family, and the child rearer will make many sacrifices and do a great deal of work for the sake of the children and their future.

Because we love, we suffer. Because we love, there will be times where we suffer gladly. Indeed, there will be times where we seek to suffer in the place of another. Think of the soldiers who defend the country, the first responders who come to the aid of the weak and wounded, the legal advocates and activists who protest injustice and pursue vindication of the rights of individuals in the courts. We all have our time as Simon the Cyrenian, taking up a share of the cross of our brethren, of those in need of God’s mercy.

We are called to bear our crosses well. That means bearing them like Jesus — and He fell three times. He needed help, and got it from Simon. He was given comfort by Veronica, by His mother, by the Beloved Disciple. He was held on the Cross by the nails. He was aided in His mission of salvation by even the evils of the world, the flesh, and the devil turned against Him, all of which His love made work for good.

By our love, then, suffused by God’s love, by the Holy Spirit, we may turn all evils to good, all failures to fertile ground, all trials into moments of grace. By God’s love and the love of God, we may be faithful until the end.

[Jesus said:] “I do not reward for good results but for the patience and hardship undergone for My sake” (Diary, 86).

Love God. Love neighbor. Love is enough.

Pray for me, that I may practice what I preach. I’ll pray for you.

Jesus, I trust in You!

Chris Sparks serves as senior book editor for the Marian Fathers. He is the author of the Marian Press book How Can You Still Be Catholic? 50 Answers to a Good Question.

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash.

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