effect of early deprivation
The Baptism Of The Lord
Fr. Mark Gatto
Preached: January 12, 2020
You do not need to earn God’s love. You already are a beloved child of God.
A theologian once said that a baby first knows that they are loved by God when they see their parent looking down smiling at them with love.
I saw some recent studies conducted by psychologists on the effect of early deprivation on children. They studied babies from an orphanage in another country. In this orphanage the babies were neglected. They were left in cribs all day other than when being fed or cleaned. All day they were left alone with no one to rock them or hug them or play with them. Basically they were left on their own, neglected. The study showed a whole list of problems that resulted with these babies as they grew up. The neglect had a life long impact.
After being baptized by John, Jesus rises from the water, the Spirit of God descends upon him, then a voice is heard from heaven, “This is my Son, the Beloved,” This is a crucial moment to everything about Jesus.
What was in the heart of Jesus? The heart of a beloved son. The beloved Son of the Father. His whole life was rooted and motivated in this experience of being the Beloved Son of the Father. Jesus was not motivated by greed, not motivated by power, not motivated by success, not motivated by fame, not motivated by fear. Jesus was motivated by the heart of the beloved.
Any religion or spirituality is healthy if it is rooted in this sense of being beloved. In Baptism we share this with Jesus. You are the beloved child of God. Our prayer life, our life of the Sacraments, it should form in us a new heart. The heart of Jesus. The heart of a beloved child of God. Then we will live differently, others should see us as children of God.
How many people in our world need to hear that voice of God in their heart. How many around us need to be shown through our care that they are beloved.
When babies are neglected it has many negative and harmful effects. When our spirits are neglected as adults, it also leads to many negative and harmful effects. We see the results in our world, with wars, violence, divisions, greed and so on.
We need to allow our hearts to be formed into the heart of Jesus, the heart of a beloved child of God. You do not need to earn God’s love.
You need to listen for that voice spoken within your heart by God.
You are my beloved child.