In the musical Les Misérables, Cosette, Marius And Eponine sing, “A Heart Full of Love.” That is a precise definition of Our Heavenly Father. He is a heart is so overflowing with love, it cannot contain itself and it bursts forth with love. At the same time, the son’s love is so great in return to the Father that out of the love for each other “the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.” This is the great mystery of God’s Trinitarian love.
In our finite smallness, we cannot begin to imagine such an ocean of love. As St. John says, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). The overflowing love of the Father is not restricted to just Jesus. He loves each of us as well. He loves us so much that he sent his only son to die for us. “For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17).
In the same way that the Father has demonstrated his infinite love for us, he asks us to share our love with others. As Jesus said, “‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man that this, that a man lay down his life for his friends'”(John 15:12). St. Maximilian Kolbe is an heroic example of this.
God knows, however, that is easier to love some than others. Jesus said, “‘But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven'” (Matt. 5: 44-45).
If we let ourselves become trapped in our own bitterness and pain, we will struggle to forgive others, We need to let go. “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).
Sometimes the emotional and physical pain are so great that the only way to forgive the other person is through grace, letting Christ forgive through me. “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness'” (2 Cor. 12: 9). I forgive the unforgivable and love the unlovable, “For the sake of Christ” (2 Cor. 12:10).
In Les Misérables, Eponine despairs that Marius will never love her the way he loves Cosette, “Not to me, not to me, not to me. His heart full of love. He will never feel this way.” However, our Heavenly Father’s love is quite the opposite. He loves every one of us, even the ones who feel the least loveable. “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matt. 6:26). As St. Augustine said, “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.”
Our Father manifests his tender love for each one of us by continually sending us messengers and messages of love. Our loving Father in heaven has said, “You are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you” (Isaiah, 43:4). He sent his son, who was not merely a messenger of love, but redeemed us, “‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’” (John 1:29).
Christ, in turn, gave us his beloved mother. He said to John, representing all of us, “Behold your Mother” (John 19:27). What does she always say, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1: 46-47). She humbly points to Jesus, saying, “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5).
Before he left, Jesus promised to send us the Holy Spirit (John 14:16). He encourages us, “‘I will not leave you desolate'” (John 14:18). The Holy Spirit “will teach you all things” (John 14:26).
God continues to reach out to us, expressing his loving-kindness and goodness by sending us his angels and saints to guide us. The Sacred Heart of Jesus and Merciful Heart of Jesus, “Jesus, I Trust in you,” are other examples of Jesus reaching out, touching our souls. St. Therese of Lisieux said, “Let us love, since that is what our hearts were made for.”
The Father’s love is so great that he wants us to spend it with him in eternity. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
The Holy Bible is a love story, a divine romance. In the song, “In My Life,” from Les Misérables, Cosette wishes for love, “In my life there are times when I catch in the silence the sigh of a faraway song. And it sings of a world that I long to see, out of reach, just a whisper away, waiting for me.” She asks, “Does he know I’m alive? Do I know if he’s real?”
Yes, our Heavenly Father knows you are alive. He says, “You are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you” (Isaiah, 43:4). Our Heavenly Father says again and again, “‘I have loved you, ‘” (Malachi 1:2). “I have loved you with an everlasting love;” (Jeremiah 31:3).
Yes, our Heavenly Father is real. Cosette goes on to sing, “In my life I’m no longer alone. Now the love of my life is so near. Find me now. Find me here.” Our loving Father in heaven has found you, but each of us has a free will to accept or reject his invitation of love.
While Cosette may pine for a human love, our Heavenly Father’s love is there waiting for each one of us. Christ has told us, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you” (John 15:9). Our heavenly Father’s heart is brimming with love. Marius and Cosette sing, “A heart full of light. A night bright as day. A heart full of you. And you must never go away. . . . A heart full of love. A heart full of you. . . . From today every day, for it isn’t a dream, not a dream after all.”
God’s love for each of us is not a dream. We are captivated by the romance of pure love. Our Heavenly Father’s love is far greater without limit. When I hear the song, “A Heart Full of Love,” I think of Christ’s love, so great for us that he offered his life. As St. Padre Pio exclaimed, “My Jesus, my sweetness, how can I live without You? Come always, my Jesus, come; You alone take possession of my heart,” (Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, Have a Good Day, 113).