Some examples of how the lack of love produces problems: “I did not feel the love I needed and I perceived love as comfort so I began to comfort myself with drugs or alcohol or sex or over eating.” or “I did not feel the love I needed and I perceived love as admiration so I began to seek the admiration of others through success and status and winning all the trophies.” or “I did not feel the love I needed and I perceived love as security so I accumulated as many material things as possible so that I would be secure.” or “I did not feel the love I needed and I perceived love as sex so I pursued every sexual experience possible.” or “I did not feel the love I needed and I perceived love as the admiration so I pursued everything to make people think i was beautiful and wonderful. I spent my life trying to please others.” I could go on. You could go on.
Use your imagination and you will soon see that your problems are rooted in the perceived lack of love. Now, the reason I say “perceived lack of love” is that the love that you needed may have been there, but the fact is the human heart is such a love desert that no human source of love–no matter how wonderful–will fulfill it. I learned this when listening to a person in counseling who was complaining about her parents. She explained how they did not love her, how they did not express their love and confidence and how deprived she was. But I knew her parents. They were good folks. They were good parents. They were kind and generous and loved her very much. So the problem was not necessarily lack of love, but perceived lack of love.
When I was a college student I began to pray the Jesus Prayer–the repetition of “Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner”. This prayer comes to us from Russia. Recently, through my growing interest in the Divine Mercy devotion I have come to realize how the two combine. No wonder that the Divine Mercy devotion comes to us from Poland–that beautiful country that bridges the Eastern and Western church. There is a wholeness and beauty to the repetition of either the Jesus prayer or the Divine Mercy prayer: “For the sake of your sorrowful passion, Have mercy on us and the whole world”
The repetition of this prayer can penetrate your hard heart. It can be the injection of love at the foundational level which will bring about a cure. Bl. John Paul the Great said, “Mercy is love’s second name.” So through this devotion many in this broken and violent and love starved world will find healing, redemption and peace.
I encourage you to try it…and I don’t have any other ideas.