b) God’s Nature, God’s Love

God is Love Pauls Letter to CorinthiansTop Quotes: God’s Nature, God’s Love

  1. “God is love.” (St John)
  2. “God’s love for us does not depend on what we do or say, on our looks or intelligence, on our success or popularity.” (Henri J.M. Nouwen)
  3. “God’s love is free.  He asks for nothing in return; all he wants is for his love to be accepted.” (Pope Francis)
  4. “God loves us. This is the great truth of our life; it is what makes everything else meaningful.” (Pope Benedict XVI)
  5. “God is life. God is love. God is beauty. God is truth.” (Fourth Century Saint, and ‘Doctor of the Church’, Gregory Nazianzen)
  6. “Man looks at appearances but the Lord looks at the heart.” (the Lord, as in the first Book of Samuel)
  7. “How we conceive of God will colour how we conceive of everything else.” (Fr Ron Rolheiser)
  8. “Look on God as an artist—it totally alters what you think of God.” (John O’Donohue)
  9. “God never tires of giving… Let us never tire of receiving.” (St Teresa of Avila)
  10. “God is working in you.” (St Paul)
  11. “In the world’s scheme, survival of the fittest is the rule. God always stands on the side of the weak. It is among the weak that we find God.” (Fr Ron Rolheiser)
  12. “Jesus sought to teach people a different image of God, God not as Judge, but God as Compassion, a God whose love for us is unchanging, whose forgiveness is greater than all our sinfulness, whose passion is compassion.” (Fr Peter McVerry)
  13. “God, in the Christmas mystery, reveals himself not as One who remains on high and dominates the universe, but as the One who bends down, descends to the little and poor earth.” (Pope Francis)
  14. “I have the greatest admiration for atheists, because by definition they have rejected a false ‘God’. The true God, if you have the privilege of knowing him, you cannot reject.” (Sister Wendy Beckett)
  15. “God is a reality with a capital “R”. Jesus reveals to us that this reality is a Father of infinite goodness and mercy, in relation with whom, he lives.” (Pope Francis)
  16. “If it is true that we are the body of Christ, and it is, then God’s presence in the world depends very much upon us.” (Fr Ron Rolheiser)
  17. “No one can love a God who cannot be seen if he or she cannot love a neighbour who can be seen (1 John 4:20). Hence a Christian spirituality is always as much about dealing with each other as it is about dealing with God.” (Fr Ron Rolheiser)
  18. “God… we receive love in order to give love.” (Pope Francis)
  19. “God is beyond our human understanding. But we make the mistake of trying to ‘capture’ God within our puny little concepts and we claim that we know God, and believe that everyone who disagrees with us is wrong. We can never KNOW God, we can only SEARCH for God…. It might be more accurate to say that Jesus told us where to SEARCH for God… Jesus insisted that we search for God amongst the poor, the outcast and the suffering.” (Fr Peter McVerry)
  20. “I sought to hear the voice of God, and climbed the highest steeple. But God declared: Go down again–I dwell among the people.” (Cardinal Newman)
  21. “Though we are always in the presence of God, it seems to me the manner is different with those who practice prayer.” (St Teresa of Avila)
  22. “God looks at you as if you were a little Christ. Christ stands beside you to turn you into one.” (CS Lewis)

God’s Nature, God’s Love: Full Quotes and Source of Quotes

“God is love.”

—Letter of St John (in the Bible at 1 John 4:16b)

“God is life. God is love. God is beauty. God is truth. God doesn’t want us to die. God wants us to live. Our God… wants to give us life for eternity.” (page 4)

“The will of God is our peace.”

—St. Gregory Nazianzen, as quoted by Pope John XXIII, “Good Pope John,” in a note in 1950 in his autobiography ‘Journal of a Soul‘, revised edition published in 1980 by Geoffrey Chapman, London and New York, page 299

“What can we say about God’s love? We can say that God’s love is unconditional. God does not say, ‘I love you, if…’ There are no ifs in God’s heart. God’s love for us does not depend on what we do or say, on our looks or intelligence, on our success or popularity. God’s love existed for us before we were born and will exist after we have died.

…. To love without condition does not mean to love without concern. God desires to enter into relationship with us and wants our love in return.” (page 3)

—Henri J.M. Nouwen, excerpt from ‘Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom & Faith’ 1997 (see HenriNouwen.org) and seen by me reprinted in ‘Called to Life, Called to Love: Lenten Reflections from the works of Henri J.M. Nouwen’

“God’s love is free.  He asks for nothing in return; all he wants is for his love to be accepted.”

Pope Francis, his tweet of 23 June 2015 (@Pontifex)

“God loves us. This is the great truth of our life; it is what makes everything else meaningful. We are not the product of blind chance or absurdity; instead our life originates as part of a loving plan of God.”

—Pope Benedict XVI, part of a Prayer Vigil during World Youth Day in Madrid, 20th August 2011

“God is not a distant God or a detached law maker. God is love and therefore our relationship with God is one that is characterised by his love for us and our response to him must be through love.”

—Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin (2011)

“The Trinity is the full flowering of the whole plan of God for us. … The most important prayer of all is the sign of the Cross: you remind yourself who you are. You immerse yourself in the mystery of God—Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit…. Jesus came to reveal to us that the way God works is in relationship: creates as God the Father; immerses and redeems as Jesus, the Son; puts all energy into making whole as the Holy Spirit…. Our God is energy and action and creativity and redeeming, and being in solidarity with humanity; and lifting up that humanity…. Let’s move away from the static image of God as a God we speak to, or receive from. The God who Jesus reveals is a God who possesses, transforms, uses, and molds us…. Jesus came to reveal God as a family, as a set of relationships, as persons who are active from creation to re-creating.”

—Fr Eamon Devlin, CM (notes jotted down by me at one of his monthly AMM talks in St Peter’s church to an AMM group (Association of the Miraculous Medal).

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘… God does not see as man sees; man looks at appearances but the Lord looks at the heart.'”

—From the first book of Samuel (1 Sam 16:7)

“The God of peace”

—How St Paul refers to God in his letter to Philippians 4:9

“God became a little baby… Yes, God wanted to become so powerless as to be unable to eat or drink, walk or talk, play or work without many people’s help… Yes, God chose to become so powerless that the realisation of God’s own mission among us became completely dependent on us.”

—Henri Nouwen

“Why? Why would God choose to be born into the world in this way?
Because you can’t argue with a baby! Babies don’t try to compete, don’t stand up to you, don’t try to best you in an argument, and don’t try to impress you with their answers. Indeed, they can’t speak at all.
You, on your part, have to coax everything out of them, be it a smile or a word, and that effort, which demands great patience, usually draws out what’s best in you….
The power of God revealed in Christmas is the power of a baby, nothing more, nothing less: innocence, gentleness, helplessness, a vulnerability that can soften hearts, invite in, have us hush our voices, teach us patience, and call forth what’s best in us.
We watch our language around a baby in the same way we watch our language in a church, with good reason.
The power of Christmas is like a baby. It underwhelms in such a way as to eventually overwhelm. There is a greater power than muscle, speed, charism, unstoppable force: If you were to put a baby into a room with the heavyweight boxing champion of the world, who would ultimately be the stronger? The boxer could kill the baby, but, no doubt, wouldn’t, precisely because something inside the baby’s powerlessness would overwhelm the boxer. Such is the way of God….
Like John the Baptist, our impatience for truth and justice makes us want and expect a messiah who comes in earthly terms, all talent and muscle, banging heads together so as to rid the planet of falsehood and evil…. But that’s not the Christmas story, nor the power revealed in it. An infant lying in the straw in Bethlehem didn’t outgun anyone.
He just lay there, waiting for anyone, good or bad, to come to him, see his helplessness, feel a tug at his or her heart strings, and then gently try to coax a smile or a word out of him. That’s still how God meets us.”

—Fr Ron Rolheiser (in his weekly column)

“He does not love us because we have merited it or are worthy of it. God loves us, rather, because he is true to his own nature.”

—Pope John-Paul II

“God is love, and those who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.”

—Gospel of John

“Ultimately, how we conceive of God will colour how we conceive of everything else, especially justice and peace and the road that leads to them…. We must try to bring about justice and peace as Jesus did, recognising that the God whom Jesus called ‘Father’ beats up no one.”

—Fr Ron Rolheiser

“Look on God as an artist—it totally alters what you think of God.”

—John O’Donohue, in a 2009 Irish TV programme on his life

“As human artists,
we can create beautiful statues, paintings, poems, and books,
we can compose and play beautiful music.
We can experience their beauty
we can see how they open us to eternal truths.
But none of these works of ours can look at us and say,
‘I love you – you are beautiful.’

—Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche, in his book ‘The Broken Body’, 1988, page 13

“God is the God of second chances.”

—Sunday sermon, Lent 2010

 “Thus says the Lord:…  Like a son comforted by his mother will I comfort you.”

—Isaiah 66:13

“The Lord will not allow us outdo him in generosity.”

—Fr Eamon Devlin, CM

“God never tires of giving, nor can he exhaust his mercies. Let us never tire of receiving.”

—St Teresa of Avila, in her ‘Book of Life’ as quoted on page 58 of “A Little Book of Teresa of Avila”, the Columba Press, Blackrock, County Dublin, 2003, compiled by Don Mullan

“God is working in you.”
—St Paul in his Letter to the Philippians 2:13 (version: ICB)

“All that God has given us is truly present in the actuality of our day. This is how God comes, the only way He can in fact come, first in the Eucharist, then in prayer, then throughout the day.”

—Sr Wendy Beckett in ‘Sr Wendy Beckett on Art and The Sacred: As seen on BBC’, 1992. London: Rider Books (p98: discussing Joan Mitchell’s ‘Two Sunflowers’ 1980)

“Ah! Brothers and Sisters, God’s face is the face of a merciful father who is always patient. Have you thought about God’s patience, the patience he has with each one of us? That is his mercy. He always has patience, patience with us, he understands us, he waits for us, he does not tire of forgiving us if we are able to return to him with a contrite heart.”

—Pope Francis, in his Angelus address 17th March 2013

“In God’s scheme of things survival of the weakest is the rule. In the world’s scheme, survival of the fittest is the rule. God always stands on the side of the weak. It is among the weak that we find God.”

—Fr Ron Rolheiser

“…how God works. He does not reveal himself cloaked in worldly power and wealth but rather in weakness and poverty: “though He was rich, yet for your sake he became poor …”. Christ, the eternal Son of God, one with the Father in power and glory, chose to be poor; he came amongst us and drew near to each of us; he set aside his glory and emptied himself so that he could be like us in all things (cf. Phil 2:7; Heb 4:15). God’s becoming man is a great mystery! But the reason for all this is his love, a love which is grace, generosity, a desire to draw near, a love which does not hesitate to offer itself in sacrifice for the beloved. Charity, love, is sharing with the one we love in all things. Love makes us similar, it creates equality, it breaks down walls and eliminates distances. God did this with us.”

—Pope Francis in his “Lenten Message of Our Holy Father Francis 2014”, as published on the Vatican website (published 26th December 2013)

 “When I was growing up, the Catholic Church was a Church of the Law…. if we do not do as we are supposed to do, then God will be angry and punish us…. In this respect, the Church had travelled down the same cul-de-sac that religion at the time of Jesus had once travelled…. Jesus sought to teach people a different image of God, God not as Judge, but God as Compassion, a God whose love for us is unchanging, whose forgiveness is greater than all our sinfulness, whose passion is compassion…. It is through our compassion that we grow into the image and likeness of God.”

—Fr Peter McVerry, SJ, page 44 of his book ‘Jesus: Social Revolutionary?’, Veritas Publications, Dublin, 2008

“In the past our concept of God was often too much a projection of our own anger and incapacity to forgive each other. Hence, we tended to paint God as a punishing God…. We lived in fear of that God.”

—Fr Ron Rolheiser

“… that same self-giving love which is the mark of the God revealed in Jesus Christ. This understanding of God is far from the versions of God that we create for ourselves and which only reflect ourselves: our own complexes, anxieties and compulsions. The images of God we create are images which reflect our fears and our inability to face the real challenges. The gods of our creation are gods that entrap us. The God revealed in Jesus Christ is one who frees and empowers.”

—Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, November 2012 in his homily to teachers graduating from the Mater Dei Institute (dublindiocese.ie/printpdf/2247)

“We may derive two considerations from the joyous contemplation of the mystery of the Son of God born for us.

… The first is that if God, in the Christmas mystery, reveals himself not as One who remains on high and dominates the universe, but as the One who bends down, descends to the little and poor earth, it means that, to be like him, we should not put ourselves above others, but indeed lower ourselves, place ourselves at the service of others, become small with the small and poor with the poor. It is regrettable to see a Christian who does not want to lower himself, who does not want to serve. A Christian who struts about is ugly: this is not Christian, it is pagan. The Christian serves, he lowers himself. Let us be sure that our brothers and sisters do not ever feel alone!

The second consequence: if God, through Jesus, involved himself with man to the point of becoming one of us, it means that whatever we have done to a brother or a sister we have done to him. Jesus himself reminded us of this: whoever has fed, welcomed, visited, loved one of the least and poorest of men, will have done it to the Son of God.”

—Pope Francis, in a ‘General Audience’ in St Peter’s Square, 18 December 2013

“It is endlessly necessary to repeat what Paul writes about God (Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.) Because we are tempted to believe God looks at us in the same way we look at ourselves.”

—Fr Eamon Devlin, CM (sermon, 19th February, 2012)

“Sometimes I blush for those who think themselves Christian and yet the God they worship is cruel, suspicious, punitive and watchful. Who could love such a God? If that is your idea of God, you are obliged by all the rules of morality and common sense to become an atheist. I have the greatest admiration for atheists, because by definition they have rejected a false ‘God’. The true God, if you have the privilege of knowing him, you cannot reject.”

—Sister Wendy Beckett in ‘Sister Wendy On Prayer’

“God – and this is my thinking and experience, shared by many from past and present! – is not an idea even if a lofty one, the fruit of human thought; God is a reality with a capital “R”. Jesus reveals to us that this reality is a Father of infinite goodness and mercy, in relation with whom, he lives.”

—Pope Francis (Letter to a non-believer: Pope Francis responds to Dr Eugenio Scalfari, journalist of the Italian newspaper ‘La Repubblica’ From the Vatican, 4 September 2013)

“A Christian believes in God, but also in a God who is incarnate. What is the difference? To put the matter in street language, one might say: ‘A theist believes in a God in heaven whereas a Christian believes in a God in heaven who is also physically present on this earth inside human beings’…. The Christian God has some skin…. We have to become, as Teresa of Avila so simply put it, God’s physical hands, feet, mouthpiece, and heart in this world….The Word did not just become flesh and dwell among us—it became flesh and continues to dwell among us… this is the core of Christian spirituality. If it is true that we are the body of Christ, and it is, then God’s presence in the world depends very much upon us.

We are Christians, not simply theists. This exposes a major popular misconception that so negatively influences popular thought today, ‘I am a good Christian, a sincere God-serving person, but I don’t need church—I can pray just as well as home.’ That can be true, if you are, precisely, a theist, but it can never be true for a Christian….
The God of the Incarnation tells us that anyone who says that he or she loves an invisible God in heaven and is unwilling to deal with a visible neighbour on earth is a liar, since no one can love a God who cannot be seen if he or she cannot love a neighbour who can be seen (1 John 4:20). Hence a Christian spirituality is always as much about dealing with each other as it is about dealing with God.”

—Fr Ron Rolheiser

“God’s presence in our lives never leaves us tranquil: it always pushes to do something. When God comes, he always calls us out of our house. We are visited so that we can visit others; we are encountered so as to encounter others; we receive love in order to give love.

—Pope Francis in his homily in Cuba at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, Santiago, 22nd Sept 2015, as reported by Vatican Radio

“God unseen, but glimpsed in goodness; God invisible, but felt in the ordinary things of life.”

—Fr Eamon Devlin, CM, part of a homily at a funeral 30th December 2013 in St Peter’s Church, Phibsboro

“John of the Cross once said that the language of God is the experience God writes into our lives. God does not speak to us through séances, and the most important things that God wants to say to us are not given in extraordinary mystical visions. The God of the Incarnation has real flesh on earth and speaks to us in the bread and butter of our lives.”

—Fr Ron Rolheiser

“God, who alone is good, knows perfectly what is good for man, and by virtue of his very love proposes this good to man in the commandments.”

—Pope John Paul II (Veritatis Splendor)

“Right actions done for the wrong reasons do not help to build the internal quality or character called a virtue, and it is this quality or character that really matters…. We might think that God wanted simply obedience to a set of rules: whereas he really wants people of a particular sort.”

—CS Lewis in his book ‘Mere Christianity’ (in the chapter “The ‘Cardinal Virtues'”, page 66 of the 1997 reprint by Fount Paperbacks, London)

“If there was a controlling power outside the universe, it could not show itself to us as one of the facts inside the universe—the only way in which we could expect it to show itself would be inside ourselves as an influence or a command trying to get us to behave in a certain way. And that is just what we do find inside ourselves.”

—CS Lewis in his book ‘Mere Christianity’ (in the chapter “What Lies Behind the Law’, page 20 of the 1997 reprint by Fount Paperbacks, London)

“God is beyond our human understanding. But we make the mistake of trying to ‘capture’ God within our puny little concepts and we claim that we know God, and believe that everyone who disagrees with us is wrong. We can never KNOW God, we can only SEARCH for God. Searching for God is to acknowledge that we have not found God; that we have not understood God. Once we stop searching, we are in danger of claiming that we have found God, that we now understand God. And then we miss God…. WE cannot find God, God finds us. It might be more accurate to say that Jesus told us where to SEARCH for God… Jesus insisted that we search for God amongst the poor, the outcast and the suffering.”

—Fr Peter McVerry, SJ, page 47 of his book ‘Jesus: Social Revolutionary?’, Veritas Publications, Dublin, 2008

“The instrument through which you see God is your whole self. And if a man’s self is not kept clean and bright, his glimpse of God will be blurred — like the moon seen through a dirty telescope.”

—CS Lewis, in his book ‘Mere Christianity’ (in the chapter ‘The Three-Personal God’, page 136-137 of the 1997 edition by Fount Paperbacks, London)

“Truth is infinitely dear to God. It is the one virtue with which his son identified himself, ‘I am the Truth’.”

—Sister Wendy Beckett in ‘Sister Wendy On Prayer’

“I sought to hear the voice of God, and climbed the highest steeple. But God declared: Go down again–I dwell among the people.”

—Cardinal Newman (as quoted on p.29 of ‘The Irish Catholic’ March 15, 2012)

“Yes, the deepest song of everything in creation
reflects the unity of the Trinity:
three persons poured out in love for one another.” (page 28)

“God had a marvellous plan
to reveal the love that burns within the Trinity,
and to bring men and women
to an even fuller unity and glory.
At the centre of that plan
is God’s desire to become flesh,
to take on human condition,
to put on human nature,
so that our Creator
would be touched and heard and loved,
so that our brokenness
could be healed into a new wholeness,
so that we could become again one perfect body.” (page 30)

— Jean Vanier, founder of the L’Arche communities, in his book ‘The Broken Body’, 1988, pages 28 and 30

“Though we are always in the presence of God, it seems to me the manner is different with those who practice prayer.”

— St Teresa of Avila, as quoted on page 49 of “A Little Book of Teresa of Avila”, the Columba Press, Blackrock, County Dublin, 2003, compiled by Don Mullan

“God is so real and his love is so real that he enters into history, he becomes a man to feel what is, how it is to live in this created world. And he accepts the path of suffering of the Passion and even suffers death.
God’s love is so real that he doesn’t only participate in our being but also in our suffering and dying.”

—Pope Benedict XVI (at a General Audience on 20 June, 2012, as reported in the 27th June English edition of L’Osservatore Romano)

“God came out of himself to come among us,
he pitched his tent among us
to bring to us his mercy that saves and gives hope.”

—Pope Francis I, at his first ‘General Audience’, St Peter’s Square, March 27th 2013

“God looks at you as if you were a little Christ. Christ stands beside you to turn you into one.”

—CS Lewis, in his book ‘Mere Christianity’ (in the chapter “Let’s Pretend”, page 160 of the 1997 edition by Fount Paperbacks, London)

For You: Pages on This Website Most Connected To This Page…

  1. Faith, Mystery, and Doubt
  2. Jesus’ Nature, Jesus’ Life
  3. Peace and Love

To finish this page with, here is an icon of The Trinity as created by Andrei Rublev, along with your choice of link to read more about it, one the wikepedia page on it, and one the page from the Russian gallery where it is on view.

God in Art (The Trinity by Andrei Rublev)

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