The Meditations of St. Thomas Aquinas

November 27 – The Greatness of Divine Love

“God so loved the world that he give His only-begotten Son; that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

The cause of all good things is the Lord and Divine love. For to wish good to anyone belongs to love. Since therefore, the will of God is the cause of things, from this very fact, good comes to us because God loves us. The love of God is also the cause of the good in nature. Likewise, it is the cause of the good resulting from grace. “I have loved you with an everlasting love, there, I have drawn you,” namely, through the grace of God.

That God is the Giver of the good resulting from grace also proceeds from Him immense charity and hence, it will be shown here, that this charity of God is the greatest charity and this because of four reasons:

    1. Because of the Person loving, for it is God Who loves and loves exceedingly. Therefore He says, “God so loved.”
    2. God’s love is the greatest because of the condition of the person loved, for it is man who is the object of God’s love, the worldly man living in sin. “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled with God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” (Romans 5:10). Hence it is written, “God so loved the world.”
    3. God’s love is the greatest because of the greatness of His gifts, for love is shown by a gift, as Gregory says, “The proof of love is in the manifestation of action.” But God gave us the greatest gift for He gave us His only begotten Son, His own Son, Son by nature, consubstantial, not adopted, but only begotten Son God gave Him to us to prove the immensity of His love.
    4. God’s love is the greatest because of the magnitude of its effects, because through it we receive eternal life. Wherefore it is written, “whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life”; which He has obtained for us through His death on the Cross.

Something is said to perish when it is prevented from obtaining the end for which it was created. But man is created and obtained for eternal life and as long as he sins he is turned away from that destined end. Still, while he lives, he does not perish entirely for he can yet be saved through God’s grace and mercy; but if he dies in sin then he perishes completely.

The immensity of Divine Love is referred to by our Lord when He says “whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” For God in giving eternal life gave Himself to us, because eternal life is nothing other than to enjoy God forever. Moreover, to give oneself to God is a sign of great love. (In John 3).

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