Father Cassilly observes: “We all know from experience the depth and intensity, the strength and sweetness of a mother’s love for her child. Others may wonder what she discovers in her infant that makes her forget and sacrifice self for its sake. She loves it without reasoning why, because it is her own; and, seeing in it a multitude of perfections to which others are blind, she cherishes it for its own sake. And God has compared His love of us to that of a mother, and pronounced it even greater, so that if it were possible for her to forget the child of her womb, yet will not He forsake us. And though mother and father abandon us, He will take us up, and in return He expects us to love Him more than our father and mother, even, if necessary, leaving them for His name’s sake.”
Father Cassilly asks, “How can we be sure of a reciprocal love between God and us since no one knows whether he is worthy of love or hatred?” It is true that “no man can be absolutely sure that he is in God’s grace. But even in human friendship a friend’s love is often known more by his manner of acting than by the testimony of words. If he acts kindly and generously towards us, showers favors upon us, and takes pleasure in our company, we do not think of questioning his friendship, but take it for granted, since loving deeds can spring only from a loving heart. When the earth is flooded with light, no one searches the sky to discover if the sun be shining. In like manner, the sincere Christian, who is conscious of having done nothing to forfeit God’s friendship, who ever strives to obey His law, who feels within the peace that passeth all understanding, and beholds graces constantly lavished upon him, can have the highest probability, amounting to a sort of moral certainty, that God loves him.”
However, “the friendship of the wayfarer on earth cannot be as perfect as that of the possessor in heaven; for, besides our uncertainty of mind, there is always the danger of losing it, but when the veils shall be removed all doubt shall disappear in the sunburst of vision, and fear shall give way to the joy of possession.”
Quotations from Francis Cassilly, A Story of Love, 2d ed. (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1917).