He only speaks love
Regardless of race, country or culture, the first language each human being learns, the moment it’s born into this world, is the maternal language of love. A warm embrace or a kiss are the first unspoken words we experience and they impact us for the rest of our lives. Many months go by before we attempt a stutter and are able to understand the significance of sounds in order to form words, but that first kiss has already taught us how to communicate in the language of love.
“You are my son, this day I have begotten you.” (Psalm 2:7) The heart of God has given us life, and his presence is imprinted upon our existence. God as Father and Mother has taught us the language of love in every expression of our verbal and nonverbal human language.
The greatest satisfaction for any father or mother on this earth is the happiness of the children they have raised. To know their children are equipped to face life thanks to all they have been taught gives these parents more joy than the physical or personality traits they may share.
During my childhood, I remember hearing my parents frequently commenting with pride on this or that trait that I received from one or the other. Surely our Creator looks at us with immense joy when he discovers his characteristics reflected in our hearts, minds and souls — that is to say, the characteristics of love in all its forms and expressions.
Love equals giving
Creating the human race, God’s loving word exclaimed, “Let us make man in our image and likeness.” (Genesis 1:26) “And God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and multiply … fill the land and govern it. … And God saw all he had made and that it was very good.” (see Genesis 1:27-31)
The word of God creates life as well as freedom. His word does not impose; it proposes. “He came to his own but they did not receive him. But to those who did receive him, he gave power to become children of God.” (John 1:11-12)
From the first moment, the language of God has only communicated love: love in order to create (Adam and Eve); love to give strength (Noah); love to give freedom (Moses); love to heal (Lazarus); love to redeem (Mary Magdalene); love to exalt (Mary); love to send forth (the apostles); love to surprise and attract (the church); love to save and transform (Jesus).
The only perennial and universal language is love. God speaks no other language, and love is all he can and wants to teach us to speak. Only in that way will he ensure that every human being in every age speaks the same language with the same accent and mannerisms of his family.
Pope Francis has insisted that, as a church and family of Christians, we should grow solely by attraction and never through imposition. After 2,000 years of Christianity, we human beings continue to merely stammer the sublime and ineffable loving language of our Father God.
Like babies, we have to repeat the same words many times before we are able to pronounce them correctly and with adequate significance. Many words in the language of love are elaborate, even complicated, and require many years of repetition in order to speak them fluently and without a foreign accent: patience, perseverance, hope, docility, humility.
It is very difficult to master this language, but once mastered, it speaks to all with the spontaneity and naturalness of a baby unafraid of committing errors because its babbling is accompanied by a smile and tender hug.
Mary spoke very little. For our sakes, she pronounced the most important word in the language of her monolingual God: Jesus.
Let us continue to repeat this Word until we master the language of love like Mary did.
Let us practice our pronunciation together.
Read the Spanish version of this column.
Northwest Catholic - May 2017
Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., is auxiliary bishop of Seattle and vicar for Hispanic ministry.Website: www.seattlearchdiocese.org/Archdiocese/auxiliaries.aspx