"Simon, son of John, do you love me?"
Simon Peter answered him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
Any fool can challenge those who say they love God, "Do your actions prove it?"
Not many Christians can reply with assurance, "Yes, I do."
We make our declarations of love often enough, especially with the Church during our prayers. Wrapped in the warm blanket of the assembly, it's not hard to say what everyone else is saying. Alone among friends or family, it might not be so easy. Our readiness to do so probably measures how far we trust these intimate companions. Caught up in an alien or hostile environment, we might be forgiven for remaining silent.
But, all reservations aside, we must make that declaration periodically, in the community and privately, within the sanctuary of our hearts.
The Jesuit poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins said it as well as anyone,
O Deus, Ego Amo TeO God, I love thee, I love thee —
Not out of hope of heaven for me
Nor fearing not to love and be
In the everlasting burning.
Thou, thou, my Jesus, after me
Didst reach thine arms out dying,
For my sake sufferedst nails and lance,┬░
Mocked and marred countenance,
Sorrows passing number,
Sweat and care and cumber,
Yea and death, and this for me,
And thou couldst see me sinning:
Then I, why should not I love thee,
Jesu so much in love with me?
Not for heaven's sake; not to be
Out of hell by loving thee;
Not for any gains I see;
But just the way that thou didst me
I do love and I will love thee:
What must I love thee, Lord, for then? —
For being my king and God. Amen.