An article recently on the “National Geographic” got me thinking about how wonderful Gods love really is. I was quickly reminded of the very beautiful Psalm 91, “He will cover you with his wings and you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart,”

Fr Paddy Byrne has a weekly column in the Carlow Nationalist.
This column appeared on 1st October 2008

An article recently on the “National Geographic” got me thinking about how wonderful Gods love really is.
The cover picture powerfully showed a picture of Gods wings. After a fire in Yellowstone National Forest Park, forest rangers began there treck up the mountain to evaluate the infernos damage; particularly to the many wildlife animals and plants that are part of this majestic habitat. Soon the investigation discovered how devastating this fire was. One ranger found a bird literary petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree. Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, the ranger knocked over the bird with a stick. When he struck the bird, he discovered, three tiny chicks scurried from under their dead mother’s wings.

The loving mother, keenly aware of the impending disaster, had carried her offspring to the base of the tree and gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing that the toxic smoke would rise and kill all of her chicks. She could have flown to safety but refused to abandon her family and desert them, because they were so very vulnerable and completely dependent on her for life. When the great blaze of the fire arrived and the heat had signed her small body the mother remained steadfast. She had been willing to die so that those under the cover of her wings would live. I was quickly reminded of the very beautiful Psalm 91,

“He will cover you with his wings and you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart,”

Love is that great energy that draws us out from our own inner selves, into the service and company of another. Love is never inward looking or selfish, love is a gift that must be shared. Love brings with it great actions of generosity and compassion. One of the great manifestations of love must be that unique connection between mother and child. Not only can mother nurture her child physically but her gentle, reassuring and tireless presence is itself the catalyst that allows her child to thrive and blossom. Love realizes itself through actions that we may take for granted or consider routine. Parents who constantly place themselves in the care of their children. Good neighbours who take time to listen and visit each other. Love is also made visible by our actions, and attitudes. How we engage in actions of compassion, how we offer hands of friendship instead of fingers of judgment.

When Jesus died on the cross with his arms outstretched he did so as the ultimate sign of his fathers love for all people. Gods love is so much greater than any human weakness, fear, anxiety or human brokenness.

The love of God always uplifts and brings us to a brighter place of where hope and healing prevail. One of the great saints of the Church Saint John of the Cross, once said

“When we encounter the Risen lord, at the moment of our death, he will ask but one question, how well did we love?”