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Reconciled being, love in chaos

30 November, 1999

President Mary McAleese tells how her experience of have children has given her some understanding of how God can extend his love to so many. There is no exclusivity in God’s love: it is all-including.

The nearest I have come to a comprehension of the mathematical mystery that is God’s love is in a story that comes from my experience as a mother. When my first daughter Emma was born, I approached the new role of motherhood with the jaundiced eye of older sister to five brothers and three sisters. I had had babies up to my tonsils throughout my teenage life. My mother and her siblings had taken to heart the gospel call to increase multiply and fill the earth, except that they had to do it single-handedly. Between them they had sixty children most of them younger than me. If the truth be told I had a relatively under-whelmed attitude to babies generally.

I was surprised therefore to find myself so completely overwhelmed and totally smitten by my own daughter. I loved her to bits. Consequently when I discovered some two years later that I was expecting twins I hit an unexpected crisis. These twins were badly wanted but for nine awful months I struggled to comprehend how I was going to divide this wonderful river of love for Emma between two more children. I was heartbroken for her. She was now to have two thirds of her normal allotment of love withdrawn and distributed among her rival siblings. I thought it a shameful thing to do to a child, but what else was there to do?

How little I knew. When the twins were born I passed through that knowledge and experience barrier that books are incapable of explaining. I knew how rudimentary, simplistic and pathetic was my comprehension of love. There was no need to share what Emma had. Here were two new babies, each one with their unique river of grace and love. Not only did I not have to share Emmas’s love, it was now enhanced and even more vibrant, touched as it was by these two new lives.

You cannot divide love. Its nature is to multiply, to embrace openly and widely, to draw in, not to exclude to make each feel part of the group, to make each feel completely at home, to reconcile.

Exclusivity is not in the nature of God. He made each one of us, called us by our name, knew us before we were born, has the very hairs on each head counted. God has no favourites. Captor and captive are his cherished children. Calvary is his gift to all. The Resurrection is his promise. The Second Coming is his invitation. It is an invitation to experience his loving presence, to share it and to bring the world out of chaos into reconciliation with Him.

by President Mary McAleese
From her book “Reconciled Being, Love in Chaos”.

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