A friend gave me this extract by the late Father Herbert McCabe, O.P.
It presents us with the fundamental paradox of the Gospel message:
"God is helplessly and hopelessly in love with us. He is unconditionally in love with us. His love for us doesn 't depend on what we do or what we are like. He doesn't care if we are sinners or not. It makes no difference to Him. He is just waiting to welcome us with joy and love.
Sin does not alter God's attitude to us; it alters our attitude to Him, so that we change him from the God who is simple love and nothing else, into this punitive ogre, this Satan.
Sin matters enormously to us if we are sinners; it doesn't matter at all to God. In a fairly literal sense he doesn't give a damn about our sin. It is we who give the damn. We damn ourselves because we would rather justify and excuse ourselves, and look on our self-flattering images or ourselves, than be taken out of ourselves
by the infinite love of God.
Contrition, or forgiveness, is-self-knowledge, the terribly painful business of seeing ourselves as what and who we are: how mean, selfish, cruel and indifferent and infantile we are.
Never be deluded into thinking that if you have contrition, if you are sorry for your sins, God will come and forgive you — that he will be touched by your appeal, change his mind about you and forgive you. Not a bit of it. God never changes his mind about you. He is simply in love with you. What he does again and again
is change your mind about him.
Being contrite, self-aware, about your sin is the same as believing in the love of God, smashing the punitive satanic God and having faith in the real God who is sheer unconditional love for you. You could say that it is your faith in God's undeviating love for you that lets you risk looking at your sins for what they are.
It's OK, you can admit the truth about yourself.
It doesn't matter: God loves you anyway.
[Herbert McCabe OP (1926-2001) - Faith Within Reason.]
Why do I say that it is a paradox? Just consider that my aunt who dies in Auschwitz and the murderers are - by this measure - loved equally.
Not just a paradox but a challenge to us too.