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Tokens of Affection: Being Courted by Jesus

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A few years ago I experienced a sunny stretch of road in my walk with Christ, during which I was keenly aware of what I called God's "tokens of affection": little gifts in my life that I was certain were His ways of reminding me of His tenderness.

These tokens could include anything from a cascade of yellow autumn leaves fluttering to my feet during an afternoon stroll to my safe arrival at work on a frighteningly snowy morning. When I received these tokens, my heart swelled, and I thanked God for the deeply personal and focused love that prompted Him to send them to me. These little bouquets made me feel so special: truly like a woman who is being courted by a gentle and attentive suitor.

I still thank God for all that He gives me, but I had forgotten that feeling of budding romance that I used to have when I received those gifts, and I had long since stopped using the term "tokens of affection." Recently, however, St. Faustina — and Jesus Himself — reminded me through this passage from the Diary of St. Faustina:

When I was at Kiekrz [1930] to replace one of the sisters for a short time, I went across the garden one afternoon and stopped by the shore of the lake; I stood there for a long time, contemplating my surroundings. Suddenly, I saw the Lord Jesus near me, and He graciously said to me, All this I created for you, My spouse; and know that all this beauty is nothing compared to what I have prepared for you in eternity. My soul was inundated with such consolation that I stayed there until evening, and it seemed to me like a brief moment ... Oh, how the infinitely good God pursues us with His goodness! (Diary, 158)

These are indeed the words of a woman in love. Anyone who has loved can remember sharing time with the beloved and being stunned to find that hours had passed or that a busy world had been moving noisily around them. And based on the description of the extravagant gifts St. Faustina receives from her Beloved, we know that Jesus is in love as well.

While this passage illuminates the sweetness of their relationship, it might also make us observers wonder. Did Jesus mean that He had created natural beauty specifically for this single Polish nun? Yes and no. Jesus' husbandly love did prompt Him to make flowers, water and sunlight with His darling Faustina in mind, but He had the rest of us in mind, too. After all, He sent His bride, St. Faustina, on a special mission to win the rest of us over so that He can be as united with us as He is with her.

It is awesome to remember that God created the treasures of the world just for us, and it is even more awesome to remember that of which Jesus reminds St. Faustina: that such treasures simply cannot compare with heaven. The tokens He gives us on earth are like the diamond ring a lover gives his beloved: beautiful and cherished, but nothing compared to the complete gift of self that a husband makes when he finally brings his wife home and becomes truly one with her, dedicating his life to her well-being.

Being the beloved of the Lord, therefore, is a great privilege and happiness, but it is also a great responsibility. After all, who is more capable of hurting a man than his wife? It may be easy to become puzzled by these words that Jesus speaks to St. Faustina: "The great sins of the world are superficial wounds on My Heart, but the sins of a chosen soul pierce My heart through and through" (Diary, 1702).

We may not be able to understand at first how Jesus could be "more wounded by the small imperfections of chosen souls than by the sins of those living in the world" (Diary, 580), but if we keep in mind the image of the bridegroom and His bride, His words make perfect sense. A man's wallet may be stolen by a complete stranger, causing him no end of anxiety and financial hardship. That same man may turn to his wife for comfort and find coldness instead. While objectively no one can deny that the thief caused more harm to the man's life, we know without a doubt who hurt him more.

God's history with humankind is a love story that is at times tragic and triumphant, and St. Faustina's Diary is one of the most beautiful exchanges of love letters ever written. Through it we can become more aware of God's untiring daily courtship of each one of us, and from that awareness we can choose to love him as St. Faustina loves Him, as a wife loves her husband: with all that we are and with all that we have, as He deserves to be loved.

Marian Tascio is a writer and English teacher who lives in Yonkers, N.Y.

Let us pray for you. Send your prayer petitions to our Divine Mercy Intercessory Prayer Ministry. They will be placed before the Blessed Sacrament in Our Lady of Mercy Oratory.

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Anna - May 25, 2007

One difficulty many have with the 'spousal' love concept is , it can create cinfusion for men !
Our Lord called the disciples 'children' at the Last Supper, when He is about to share His Body and Blood and He said -If you have seen Me, you have seen The Father; ; it would seem He is incarnate of The Father Love and while th spousal theme is fine as it refes to The Church, whne it comes to persons , may be more like alittle girl oedipal phase ; reason to bring this up is , to foster the idenity for esp. priests , who are also to relate with The Ftaher Love ( in fact, in one section in The Diary, our lOrd tells St. Faustina reg, Rev, Fr. Sopocho , thta unless sherelates to him as to a father she will not rceive any graces !
Father hunger is possibly the deepest hunger of human heart 0 the one we lost in The Garden and our lord asks us to call God as Father ( which include all three persons !) Mnay a homosexual could be cured if their disordered father hunger that gets distorted in efforts to seduce men is satisfied with Real Father Love - glimpse of The Cross and The Sacred Heart in The Eucharist !
Our preists and men who need a real Father model need to gaze at The Face !