Vatican City — Love is more about giving than receiving and is best expressed through action, not words, Pope Francis said.
God's love, in fact, can only be experienced by people willing to let go of their egos and humbly let God take the lead, allowing him take their hand like a loving father with his children, the pope said in his homily Friday.
Celebrating the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Pope Francis focused his homily on the heart of Jesus and his immense love.
"One can say that today is the feast of God's love in Jesus Christ, of God's love for us, of God's love in us," he said during an early morning Mass in the chapel of his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
The pope said, "There are two aspects of love. First, love is more about giving than receiving. Second, love is more about deeds than words," he said, according to Vatican Radio.
Love is always given or transmitted to another, he said, and "love always gives life, fosters growth."
But, in order to understand and experience God's love, people have to be humble and childlike before the immensity of the divine, he said. God wants a "father-child relationship" with people and wants to assure everybody, "I am with you."
"This is the tender affection of the Lord," the pope said. "This is what he communicates and it gives strength to our tenderness.
"But if we make ourselves out to be strong," he said, "we will never experience the Lord's caress, the Lord's caresses, (that are) so beautiful."
When Jesus says, "Be not afraid. I am with you," and explains "I am meek and humble of heart," the pope said, he is helping people understand "the mysterious love" God has for us.
Jesus himself, "the son of God, lowers himself in order to receive the father's love," Pope Francis said.
The other defining characteristic of God's love is that "he loved us first," the pope said. God is always "before us" and "he is waiting for us."
"When we go looking for him, he sought us out first. He is always ahead of us, he's waiting for us in order to receive us in his heart, in his love," the pope said. "He gives us joy and takes us on life's journey like a child, by our hand."
To express his love, he said, God "needs our smallness, to lower ourselves. And he also needs our amazement when we look for him and discover him already there, waiting for us."