I'm ashamed to say that I've only just now noticed that I was tagged over a week ago by Mike Liccione of Sacramentum Vitae in the "Why I love Jesus" meme. I'm ashamed because I read Sacramentum Vitae every day and I can't for the life of me imagine how I missed being tagged, other than by not reading the post all the way to the end, which just goes to demonstrate what a shallow reader I am. But I suppose anyone who's read my analyses of things I've read already knew that about me.
The meme is one about which I have mixed feelings. I hope I'm not offending anybody when I say that one of things about the meme that makes me uncomfortable is that it sounds kind of like a fundamentalist or evangelical sort of thing to ponder. On the other hand, of course I do love Jesus, as I imagine any genuine Christian would, and I don't mind saying so. Maybe it's just a matter of discourse: I probably wouldn't say "I love Jesus", any more than I would say "I'm born again" or "I like country music". I might say "Iesum Christum Dominum nostrum amo" or something like that, especially if I was drunk enough.
So what five reasons would I give for loving Jesus? I'm not going to deny looking around at the other folks in the meme to try to cheat on this one, but as much as I admire Mike Liccione and Jonathan Prejean and the other great Catholic bloggers in this meme I'm too much of a chicken to try to steal anything from them, so what follows is the best I can do, I'm afraid.
1. First, it seems to me that to love Jesus is at least in part to have a desire for him, principally a desire to be like him but also a desire to be with him in some sense, to have him present in one's life in such a way that one is constantly aware of his presence. To me, this is what the created order is all about: trying to find God in everything the way one tries to find the meaning of a code. Jesus is our key to the code--without him everything else really would be meaningless.
2. In addition to being the key to the meaning of everything, Jesus is quite literally an image of God the Father and, as such, we love him as we love the source of all goodness and truth simply because it is good and true. That is our end, the reason why #1 is true: we need to find the meaning in the created order because that meaning is also our meaning, it gives our own existence purpose.
3. One ought also to love Jesus because it is natural to love a person who so unreservedly and unconditionally loves us. Indeed, it would be literally perverse not not love Jesus. Even non-Christians, for the most part, think of Jesus as a good person and to be admired; some of them may even love him, because they understand that, if nothing else, he stands for such love. I think that even some folks who don't believe he existed at least love the idea of him. What's not to love?
4. As an act of love Jesus died for us, and so it is fitting to love him as an act of gratitude for his sacrifice.
5. Because he loved us enough to leave us at Calvary, he also loved us enough to remain with us in the Eucharist. So it is fitting to love him in thanksgiving for this great gift of eternal presence, making our closer communion with him possible.
So there you have it. I'm pretty free with my love I guess. I'm not very good at memes, either, and in fact I think it's fair to say that I don't love them at all, but I'm willing to play along. If only I had five friends to tag! But I'll tag the following: Tom Kreitzberg, the Darwins, Fr. Fox, Fr. X, and John Farrell. Since Fr. X would rather die than reply to anything I've written, we can count the Darwins separately.