The intention of this reflection is to lead you to a place of prayer.
In 1 John 4:17-19, Saint John writes:
“In this is love perfected with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because he first loved us.”
A first key for understanding these verses is found in the word confidence in verse 17. This is a unique type of confidence about which Saint John is writing. The Greek word is parrēsia and means “boldness”, “courage”, or “outspokenness”. Within this particular context, parrēsia is used “for the sense of security that Christians have in their relationship with God.” It is the boldness that a beloved son or daughter of God has in relation to the Father. This boldness, or confidence, “allows us to live on open terms with the Lord without a servile or inordinate fear of his judgment.”
“We love, because he first loved us.” This is the more foundational key for understanding these verses. The sure source of our confidence is the love of God the Father revealed in Jesus, and experienced through the gift of the Holy Spirit. When we seek to rest under the loving gaze of our perfect heavenly Father, there is where we find our confidence. It is a daily task — but not such a bad one, right? To rest under the loving gaze of our perfect heavenly Father.
Through this daily practice of allowing ourselves to be loved by God the Father, we will grow in what St. Josemaría Escrivá called “holy shamelessness”. With this holy shamelessness we can approach God honestly with our whole self, warts and all. We can be confident that he loves us, and confident that he wants to encourage us and strengthen us with his grace to grow, especially in the sacraments of reconciliation and the Eucharist. With this holy shamelessness, we become free to promote and defend Christian truth, we become free in those settings where we feel most anxious, and we become free to share with others the love we ourselves have encountered.
With this ideal of Christian confidence in mind, it is important now to ask, “In my relationship with God, am I living in a state of servile fear? Or, have I come to know the love the Father has revealed for me in Christ as a beloved son or daughter?” What is your answer?
Look to the Crucifix and know, he did this for me. Imagine the face of Christ, and see the love of God the Father revealed in Jesus’ divine humanity. “We love, because he first loved us.”
- Father Corey Tufford
 The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (San Francisco 2010) 473.
 The Way, “Your Sanctity”. n. 387-392.