This week Leslie stirs up a question which may resonate with many of us. “Why Do We Often Hesitate to Receive Love?”…. What prevents us from opening up to deep, intimate love? Read on…
I read an interesting article the other day by Fr. John Floeder in CCL’s Family Foundations. In it he said that he has been encountering more and more couples who express a struggle with marital intimacy. Many of these couples did all the right things: waited for marriage to have sex, put God first in their marriage, learned Natural Family Planning, but still they struggle.
Then he talked about a struggle that a lot of seminarians seem to have. Many feel shame and unworthiness at the thought of becoming priests.
He attributed both problems to a similar cause, not feeling worthy of love, either God’s love or our spouse’s. Sometimes it is because of past sin or an interior wound we have been having for a long time that needs to be healed. His answer to this problem is to make Bartimeus’ prayer our own (Mark 10:46-52) “I want to see!”
Fr. Jacque Phillipe, in his book Interior Freedom, says that we do not find it easy to receive love freely. “We are happy to receive something
if we see it as a reward for our merits, something due us. Receiving freely means trusting the giver with open hearts. It also means abandoning ourselves! And it requires a lot of humility. We can claim things as a right, demand things, but seldom can we accept freely.”
I know I struggle with accepting love freely. I am a doer by nature, so I often feel like I have to do something for God first for Him to grant me His love. But that’s all wrong. It is He who first loves us and all He asks is that we receive that love. So simple, but so difficult. He really doesn’t need anything from us. Anything we can give Him is a gift from Him anyway.
Being vulnerable is scary, but we can’t have true intimacy with God or our spouse without it. We have to be open and sometimes be willing to see what we don’t want to see in ourselves. I have to add a line to Bartimeaus’ prayer. Lord, I want to see, but please be gentle. And of course he always is!
Let us pray this prayer by Fr. Floeder:
Lord, help me to see what is at the root of this struggle; heal me and show me the path of continual healing. Lord, help me to receive your love and know that I am your beloved daughter. Amen