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Lenten Devotionals Monday April 3, 2023: Love of Self

“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8)

1 John speaks to us of God’s love in poetic words and addresses us, the readers, as “Beloved.” Love for us exists
even before we exist. As “beloved” children, born of God, we are loved even before we are born. No matter what
we do, who we are, or who we become, God’s love is behind and before us — surrounding us and our lives.
The greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity or power, but self-rejection. In his book Life of the Beloved,
Henri Nouwen writes about how God’s message of love often gets lost in our own self-rejection: “It certainly is
not easy to hear God’s voice of love in a world filled with voices that shout: ‘You are no good, you are ugly; you
are worthless; you are nobody.’ These negative voices are so loud and so persistent that it is easy to believe
them. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us
the ‘Beloved.’”

Exam ine:  Recall a situation or an experience that led you to feelings of self-rejection. Breathe. Notice
thoughts and feelings that arise.

Imagine:  Imagine yourself as one child among many crowded around Jesus, trying to catch his attention. Jesus
sees you, leads you out of the crowd so you can be near him. Jesus talks to you as if no one else is around.
He pays attention to you and your needs. He loves you. Listen carefully to hear what Jesus wants you to know.

Pray:  Free me for love, O God, so I can live with heart.