By Sister Ruth Bolarte
Special to the CS&T
As we enter Holy Week and the Triduum we remember how much God loves us. How can we articulate this awesome spanine love? St. Alphonsus Liguori, a patron saint of my religious community, says that if the love of all persons, all angels and all saints were combined, they could not equal the smallest part of the love of God for us. As we become awakened to the measureless of God’s love, we are moved to respond in love.
St. Alphonsus affirms that through meditation on the crib, cross and the Eucharist, we shall be able to deepen our response of love to the Almighty. In the crib, God becomes like one of us. In Jesus, our humanity has been embraced by love. This spanine love made us in His own image, but that was not enough. He must also Himself be made to our image to redeem us.
On the cross, the spanine love is poured out totally for us. How can we doubt this infinite tender love after having seen Jesus shed His blood and die for us?
In the Eucharist, the sacrament of love, our Lord becomes food, so that we might become of one substance with Him. Truly, our God, Emmanuel, is with us!
It is God’s love which has drawn us from nothing and given us being. It is the power of the vulnerable Jesus in the crib, the cross and the Eucharist that makes us strong and unites us to the spanine.
The love of God is the point of departure for everything St. Alphonsus does. It drives him to minister to the abandoned and to consecrate himself to the work of redemption.
Our society needs to hear and see this message of love. As we continue living the Paschal Mystery, may we be fired up with the enthusiasm, energy and courage to follow our Redeemer in faithful and hopeful love.
Sister Ruth Bolarte, I.H.M., is the director of the Catholic Institute for Evangelization in Philadelphia.