The Greatest Of All Romances

To fall in love with God is the greatest of all romances; to seek Him, the greatest adventure; to find Him, the greatest human achievement. 
~St Augustine

People talk about falling in love and being in love every day. I have to be honest, I've never really known what that means. In my humble opinion, I think the word love and the phrase being or falling in love is used quite loosely. What I do know is that loving someone and being in love are two different things. No, I am not going to venture to explain the subtle differences; I will leave that to the poets and philosophers of the world.
I started thinking about all this when I read my friend, Colleen's newsletter. (You can subscribe to her Prayerful Morsels by visiting her wonderful blog Thoughts on Grace.) She talked about falling in love with Jesus and posed the question:"Do you remember when you first fell in love with Jesus?" This got me thinking about not only the answer to that specific question, but a few other things as well.
For one thing it has been through my relationship with Christ that I have learned what love really is and what it is not. I know that it is more than the warm fuzzies~ in fact love really has little to nothing to do with that feeling at all. I have learned through Our Savior that love is an act of the will and is sacrificial in nature.
Over the last few years, Our Lord has also shown me some of what it means to be in love. It is constant forgiveness, mercy and willingness to die. It is also the deep desire to always be with the beloved. Jesus is always ready to forgive me, shows me mercy beyond telling, has died for love of me, and desires to remain with me and is so in the Eucharist.
The sacrament of Marriage is God's gift of this type of love to us while on this earth. Good, Christian marriages mirror Christ's love for His Church. While I myself have never truly known what it is to be in love with someone on this earth, I have come to know what it is to experience the greatest love of all.
I don't know the precise moment it happened. At first glance I would say it probably happened the day I made my First Holy Communion. I remember the day vividly. I also remember the response I gave my mother when after arriving home, she asked me if I was hungry~ I told her no; I had Jesus. That cute response made by a happy seven year old has become a profound statement in my life of faith today. The seeds of love were planted that day, but I would leave my Love for worldly things that did not last. However, Love waited patiently and with great anticipation for my return and when I did, He began to show me what it is to fall in love, be in love, and stay in love. The verse from Song of Songs under my header really sums it up for me. "When I found Him whom my heart loves, I took hold of Him and would not let Him go." (Song 3:4)
So to answer the question, I do not remember precisely when I fell in love with Jesus, I just know that I have and I pray for the grace to stay there with Him.

Nothing is more practical than finding God,
that is, than falling in love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination,
will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you
out of bed in the morning,
what you will do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, who you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love; stay in love,
and it will decide everything. 

~Pedro Arrupe, SJ


Michael said…
What a beautiful post! You were so wise - even at such a young age!

I've found that my love for God grows greater and greater the more I turn to Him. And I, like you, pray that I never turn from that!

God Bless you!
Colleen said…
Oh wow. Love this!!! When I first read the St Augustine quote, not knowing you were going to mention my article, I thought - darn! That would have been a great quote for my article!! :)
THEN I read the quote from Fr. Arrupe - the priest giving that retreat at my parish used that too!
I love God-incidences!
Besides all that, I love your post here. Your story of when you fell in love with Jesus and your answer to your mother. Also learning the difference between loving and being in love. Beautiful post. (thanks for the link too)
Hugs and blessings!
Karinann said…
Thanks Michael and Colleen.
Michael- I also find that God increases our love for Him the more we turn to Him. The more we come to know Him it seems we can't help but love Him. (Despite our leaving Him at times)

Colleen- I have always loved that quote from Augustine and the one from Fr. Arrupe is used by the priest who preaches at Mass on my yearly silent retreat. Thanks for your article in Morsels- I always find something there to take me a bit deeper in faith and love for God.

God bless you both.
Once again a very thought-provoking post.

Thank you Karinann.

God bless.
Karinann said…
Your welcome Victor. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.
God bless!
Mary333 said…
I loved your response to your mother after your 1st Communion! Ahh! If only we would never lose that first love! Good thing the Lord brings us back to Him. We are very blessed. And the second time around it's a much more mature love! Great post!
Karinann said…
Thanks Mary. I agree- if only we could keep the innocence of our youthful love with the mature love of adulthood.
Anonymous said…
What an absolutely awesome post, Karinann. My favorite saints are those who are most passionate in expressing their love for Jesus Christ, e.g., St. John, St. Paul, St. Augustine, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Bernard, St. Margaret Mary Alocoque, St. Paul of the Cross, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Gemma Galgani, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Blessed Chiara Badano, to name just a few. Our dear Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, is someone who has clearly fallen in love with Jesus. It is indeed the greatest of all romances, and I pity the many Christians who haven't embarked upon it.

God bless,
Anonymous said…
It might be worth noting, by the way, that only Christians can "fall in love with God". Jews and Muslims revere and love God, to be sure. But to "fall in love with God" (in the nuptial and sacrificial sense, not in a purely emotional sense) is only possible in the presence of the One True God who reveals His Face in the Person of Jesus Christ.
Karinann said…
Thank you for sharing these beautiful thoughts, David. Those saints you mentioned truly knew what it was to fall in love with God in the person of Jesus and they are great role models for us. In regard to your second comment I agree, but also pray Jesus' prayer for unity so that they too may come to know this greatest of romances. I know from where we sit it doesn't seem likely but as we well know anything is possible with and for God.
God bless!
Don't you just LOVE Colleen's newsletters? I do!
This post is so poignantly written and so very beautiful.
One might notice that its author, perhaps, has a call to the religious life...I am wondering if she has ever considered such?