Love is something that touches all of our lives. Everyone has a pretty good idea what it’s like to be in love. If you haven’t ever experienced it yourself, you’ve at least observed it in the world around you: you know couples who are in love, you’ve seen love stories in movies, you’ve read them in books, and you’ve heard them in songs. When you think about it, love stories surround us everywhere in life! It seems that every popular movie or song has to do with love. It’s almost as if human beings are obsessed with being in love. It’s almost as if there is a great desire in us that yearns to be in love. It’s almost as if we were made to fall in love.
But why? Why is there this great fire in our hearts that desires to be in love? Why did God make us with this unrelenting hunger? Perhaps He made us obsessed with love because He is love (John 4:8). Perhaps He made us obsessed with love because He made us precisely for that purpose—to be in love! Not exclusively for the romantic love between a man and a woman, but for perfect, eternal love with Him (John 3:16). Yes, this is why God made us, and this is why we are obsessed with love. God made us to fall in love with Him, and our hearts will be restless until they find that love (CCC 27-30).
Now I could tell you that falling in love with God in some way resembles the love between a man and a woman—the love we see in the movies and hear about in songs. But this would be to understand things the wrong way. Our love for God does not resemble romantic love; it’s the other way around. Romantic love, the love between a man and a woman, rather resembles our love for God.
The love between a man and a woman is one of the most beautiful things in life. But the reason why this relationship is so beautiful is because it gives us a taste of what it’s like to be in a loving relationship with God. God created love between a man and a woman not for its own sake, but to be an example for us of the relationship we are called to share with Him. The relationship between a man and a woman exists for the very sake of being a sign or image for us of what it is like to truly love God and desire to give ourselves completely over to Him. The very reason we desire to fall in love romantically is because it resembles the love we were made for perfectly with God. The greatest love story then, the one which the whole world was created for, is the love story between you and God.
When you fall in love with God your life completely changes. God is no longer some distant figure that dwells far away in heaven and only occasionally enters into your life. No, you become more and more united to God as a best friend and intimate lover (John 14:23). You begin to see the world through the eyes of God, and this changes everything. No longer do the dreary events of your daily life seem boring and bland. No longer do your pain and suffering seem oppressive and meaningless. No longer do your sins and failures seem overwhelming and enslaving. When we unite ourselves to God in love, we begin to be able to see the world from his perspective; the ordinary becomes extraordinary, because every event in life—every joy, and every sorrow, every success, and every failure, every pleasure, and every suffering—becomes a gift of love from God and an opportunity for an intimate encounter with Him (Romans 8:28).
This is the essence of Carmel. This is the purpose of the entire spiritual life. This is the reason why the whole world was created. And this is the very reason why you were made: to fall in love with the God who already loves you more than you could ever imagine. Then, we can exclaim with Saint Thérèse: “O Jesus, my Love …. my vocation, at last I have found it…. MY VOCATION IS LOVE! Yes, I have found my place in the Church and it is You, O my God, who have given me this place; in the heart of the Church, my Mother, I shall be Love. Thus I shall be everything, and thus my dream will be realized” (Story of a Soul).