Not because we are good, but because He is

The sinner who is ready to accept love as a gift from God is far closer to God than the “just” man who insists on being loved for his own merits.

One of the keys to real religious experience is the shattering realization that no matter how hateful we are to ourselves, we are not hateful to God. This realization helps us to understand the difference between our love and His. Our love is a need, His a gift. We need to see good in ourselves in order to love ourselves. He does not. He loves not because we are good, but because He is. But as long as we worship a God who is only a projection of ourselves, we fear a tremendous and insatiable power who needs to see goodness in us and who, for all the infinite clarity of His vision finds nothing but evil, and therefore insists upon revenge.

Thomas Merton; The New Man