God’s Love

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As we approach Valentine’s Day, we feel a sense of ‘love in the air’. We are all familiar with Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s famous poem, “How does he love me? Let me count the ways” …but consider a variation of this poem and focus on God’s love. How does God love us? Let us count the ways…

God’s love for us is unconditional. God loves us even when we don’t deserve it. He doesn’t wait for us to become ‘good enough’. You’re already good enough. God loves the neglected, the poor, and the minorities. He loves them so much that he came down from Heaven and became one of them himself. During His life on earth, Jesus experienced what it was to be hurt, abandoned, misunderstood, and betrayed. Jesus’ suffering absolved not only our sins but also our grief and our sorrows (Isaiah 53:4).

We can never hope to list all the things God has done for us, but we can be mindful of the innumerable ways He shows His love each and every day… the big things, the little things, and all the things in between.


How does God love you? Let’s count the ways…

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Psalm 86:15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Romans 8:38-39 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 John 3:1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.

Psalm 136:26 Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever. 

Isaiah 41:13 For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”

Hebrews 13:5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Romans 5:3-5 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Romans 5:8 But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor 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.  Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

OFC & Healthcharism partner to help improve community health!

Healthcharism

Healthcharism

Five years ago, Anna Corwin, a PhD candidate from UCLA, visited several religious communities like the Franciscan convent in Oldenburg and was permitted to live with Sisters in one of them for 6 months.  Her goal as an Anthropologist was to study the impacts of language, prayer, and world-view on health and aging processes.

Anna Corwin chose American Catholic Nuns as the subject of her thesis because they have been estimated through other research to navigate the aging and illness process “more successfully” than the average American.  Her question: why?

Through her research, she concluded: “Two of the key factors contributing to the nuns’ physical and mental wellbeing are the spiritual support they experience from the divine and the social support they provide for and receive from each other in the convent.”  This spiritual support, she explains, is deeply rooted in prayer practices through which “mundane care interactions are rendered sacred.”

Realizing the “holy” in everyday life is an important aspect of Franciscan spirituality.  God is not just for chapels and bedtime prayers.  God is in the shoveling of snow, the offering of a cup of coffee, the bandaging of a cut finger, the enduring of a business meeting that feels like a frightful failure.  The Sisters’ have developed a skill for finding the sacred in each moment and accepting the gift of the divine through all of life’s events.

As an individual who deeply understands the health benefits of spirituality, Brookville Resident Jennifer Profitt founded Healthcharism in 2012, and proposed a collaborative partnership with the Sisters’ Oldenburg Franciscan Center (OFC), which will move forward in 2013.

“We will start with the resources we have, and build from there,” says Profitt.  “The Sisters have experience in education, psychology, and spirituality.  I have medical expertise and a deep love for our county.  Together I think we can do great things.”

“It is wonderful,” says OFC Director Olga Wittekind, PhD, OSF.  “Our Franciscan Charism calls us to be peacemakers, to care for the poor, and bring hope to others.  This is a perfect opportunity to share our Charism with others.”

First things first, Profitt and Wittekind feel that teaching Mindfulness and offering programs for reflective learning are primary for helping others achieve their health and wellness goals.

Through Oldenburg Franciscan Center, Profitt and OFC Manager Angela Roesler will begin offering Spiritual Autobiography classes in January 2013, and Wittekind will continue offering workshops themed around Jungian psychology and mindfulness, as well as counseling & spiritual direction.  Healthcharism workshops will be co-designed by Profitt and OFC staff to meet the needs of individuals & groups seeking healthier lives in a spiritual, yet ecumenical, setting.

If you would like more information about this topic, call or write to Angela Roesler at 513-543-5368 or aroesler@oldenburgosf.com.  Learn more about OFC Programming at www.oldenburgfranciscancenter.org.

Look for more news to be coming soon!