Yesterday morning, I drove Dan to the airport. After spending so much time worrying about where to turn and which lane to take, I suddenly found myself watching him remove his bags from the trunk. I realized how much I would miss him, even for the few days he’d be gone. “I’ll call you as soon as I get there,” he said, and after one last hug, he was gone.
Longing. You’ve experienced that feeling, haven’t you? Longing to hear your loved one’s voice, longing to see their face, to feel their presence. We know that every person who loves another, is familiar with that longing.
And yet, as often as we say, “Jesus loves you,” how often do we realize that “Jesus longs for you”?
Mother Teresa, who had an intimate relationship with Jesus, wrote these words in a letter:
“Jesus longs for you. He misses you when you don’t come close. He thirsts for you. He loves you always, when you don’t feel worthy or not accepted by others; even by yourself sometimes. He is the one who always accepts you. Only believe, you are precious to him. Bring all you are suffering to his feet; only open your heart to be loved by him as you are. He will do the rest.”
The thought that Jesus longs for me became so much more feasible once I had visited the Holy Land. Before that, I had sort of idealized Jesus in my mind. He had been much more divine than human to me. But after my pilgrimage, I couldn’t imagine anyone who had lived by the Sea of Galilee who wouldn’t have missed the sight of that beautiful sunset. After having jumped from rock to rock on the seashore, having “watered” the Garden of Gethsemane with my own sweat on a hot afternoon, having laughed and eaten with the descendants of the first disciples, and having crawled on my hands and knees to enter His empty stone tomb, I had such a connection with the person of Jesus Christ.
So now I know: When I enter a chapel with the Blessed Sacrament—the consecrated bread that has become the humble host of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus—I smile as I look at the Tabernacle. I know He loves me! I know He will miss me when I leave. As much as you could theologize or philosophize about it, I know that the Truth is essentially simple: God is the greatest lover of all. Jesus, who is both God and man, not only loves with perfect love, but loves as a human being.
When you’re far from Him, He longs for you.