His name is Joseph, father of three. I met him in one of the advent recollections I used to attend at St. Francis Church in Melbourne. He told me a story which I remember to this day especially every Father’s day.
Joseph’s eldest daughter had difficulty in school work. When Dianne was in Grade 2, he would review to her the lessons that they do in class. They have been doing sums for almost a week but Dianne showed no sign of getting it. Frustrated and tired from work Joseph flared up. He could see how it shook Dianne and the poor girl went to bed hurt and crying. He wanted to apologize but he could tell by Dianne’ eyes how he had hurt her. He felt so guilty and tried to think of ways he could make it up with her. He could not sleep that night. The following morning he still could not bring himself to Dianne’s room and decided to just make it up with her when he comes back in the evening. But before he could reach the door, Dianne came rushing to him, threw herself to him, kissing him and saying her usual “I love you, Daddy, please come home early” as if nothing happened the night before. Joseph said he did not just become a changed father after that. He became a changed man.
I think this was what happened to St. Paul. It was not just his faith in the Lord Jesus that fueled this apostle to the gentiles to endure hunger, shipwreck, and persecution to spread the gospel of the Lord. It was the love that he knows Jesus had for him that did. Paul couldn’t contain that love. He’s got to share it. This is our challenge: to be constantly aware of the immense love of God so that like Paul we can speak in the first person, HE LOVED ME.
There are people who find it hard to love but there are also those who find it hard to believe they are loved. Love changes everything, so the song goes. I think love changes us and make us want to be better persons not only because we love but because we know somebody truly loves us.
Know that God loved us first (1 John 4:19). This had always been the order of things.