“Do you know what happened to my heart? When I saw you, my heart fell in love with you.”
These words were spoken by a little girl explaining how she felt when she first saw her adoptive mother. The recent video of this conversation has made the rounds on the internet, as many people have commented about how heartwarming and adorable this little girl is.
I’d like to add one other observation: she’s a budding theologian. I’ll explain why in a moment.
Spiritual conversion: falling in love with God
In the previous blog in this series, we discussed how intellectual conversion can help to overcome scrupulosity—or at least begin to address it. This leads us to spiritual conversion, which has been defined as “falling in love with God.” In the battle against scrupulosity, spiritual conversion can prove to be a most powerful weapon.
You may have never thought about “falling in love with God” before. In reference to your relationship with God, that terminology might strike you as odd or even inappropriate. Maybe the reason is that some people were raised to think of God as an unapproachable and inscrutable old man—an image frequently reinforced in art. This is unfortunate; after all, Jesus came to us as a little baby—a fact that illustrates His desire to be approached and loved.
To say we are “falling in love” with God is, in fact, quite appropriate. It is a beautiful recognition that our love of God is not static; quite the contrary, it is forever moving closer to the very Author of love. As Pope Benedict wrote in “Deus Caritas Est”:
“Love is indeed ‘ecstasy,’ not in the sense of a moment of intoxication, but rather as a journey, an ongoing exodus out of the closed inward-looking self towards its liberation through self-giving, and thus towards authentic self-discovery and indeed the discovery of God…” -Pope Benedict, “Deus Caritas Est”
Does God fall in love with us?
Since great love stories are never one-sided, this discussion prompts a question: Does God fall in love with us? Or, in the words of the little theologian quoted above, When God saw me, did He fall in love with me? The answer is an eternally resounding yes.
We might be tempted to say that God’s love for us was “love at first sight.” But it’s much more profound than that. God’s love for us has no first; nor has it a last. As Saint Alphonsus Liguori explains:
“God has loved us from all eternity. Children of men, says the Lord, remember that I first loved you. You had not yet been born, the world itself did not exist, and even then I loved you.” -Saint Alphonsus Liguori
God’s love for you knows no beginning. And it knows no end. God has always been in love with you. The Sacred Heart of Jesus does not take a single beat without loving you. His love holds you in existence.
Spiritual conversion and scrupulosity
The focus on God’s love—and on falling in love with God—is essential for all of us, but especially crucial for scrupulous souls. Those with scrupulous consciences routinely focus on insignificant matters to the exclusion of the most important things. But the scrupulous would be well-advised to remember a Latin aphorism, “De minimis non curat lex,” which translates in English to “The law does not concern itself with trivial things.” Spiritual conversion is necessary to look past these trivial things and, instead, focus on God.
Spiritual conversion helps us look past ourselves—all the way to God. Whereas scrupulosity tends to turn our thoughts incessantly upon ourselves, spiritual conversion restores our health by redirecting our thoughts to God. This has an added benefit: since it’s a stubborn rule of epistemology that we cannot love what we do not know, we want to know more about God. Thus, we turn to Scripture and discover a central truth in this discussion: God is not scrupulous.
Lastly, spiritual conversation helps us rise above the incessant need for mathematical certainty in all our actions. Not only do we want certainty, but we scrupulous people are sometimes tempted to think that everyone seems to have certainty except us. The truth is, however, we’re all in the same boat. Each of our lives is tossed upon chaotic waves full of uncertainty. But amidst it all, I am certain of this: God loves me.
And that is enough.
John Clark is an author, speechwriter, and a weekly blogger for the National Catholic Register. He has written hundreds of articles and blogs about Catholic family life and apologetics in such places as Seton Magazine, Catholic Digest, and Homiletic and Pastoral Review. A graduate of Christendom College, John and his wife Lisa have nine children and live in Virginia.