Over at http://newtheologicalmovement.blogspot.com/2011/11/why-does-god-give-to-some-five-and-to.html, Father Ryan writes this concerning God's love:
"We must understand: God DOES NOT love all people equally. The Most Blessed Virgin Mary has been loved more than any other human persons – hence, without any merit of her own, she was conceived immaculate. Likewise, we may consider St. Paul who, while yet a sinner, was given the grace not only of conversion, but also of the apostolate to the gentiles.
God loves some more than others, but he still loves all. Love does not have to be equal when it is gratuitous – for, most assuredly, none of us (not even our blessed Lady) deserver the love of God. To show us that he is merciful and compassionate, God gives some graces to all people (hence, all receive at least one talent). Yet, to prove to us that his love is gratuitous and not a legal requirement, God loves some more than others and gives special graces to some which he does not give to others (hence, some receive five, others two, talents)."
I do not claim to be a theologian and have not had any formal theological instructions, but considering Father Ryans statements above, I must disagree with him, based on reason and my own life experience. I believe the problem with his thinking about God's 'unequal' love for us is based on what he perceives as the more God loves us, the more graces He will give us. I do not think for one minute that the amount of grace one receives is determined by "how much" God loves each one of us. Let me give you an example.
I am a father of five children. I can tell you honestly that I have never loved one child above another. I may have LIKED one child more than the others, but liking and loving are two different things. How do I know I Iove my children equally? Because I would not give a second thought to giving up my life for any of my children. Even for the most annoying child. Do I give to all equally as far as responsiblities, duties, chores, favors or rewards go? No, I don't. The reason being is that I know my children. I know their characters and personalities and I know which of them can handle what ever it is I will dole out to them.
Some of my children can shine when it comes to being responsible, or given a particular chore to do, and I will allow them more liberties, while one or another must be treated differently for whatever reason, be it weakness or some other deficiency in character they may have. It has nothing to do with my love for them, but what their roles in the family are, their ages and their characters. In all of this, my love is equal, not more and not less for one over another. The love I give my children is free for me to give. They may accept it or reject it. Nevertheless, I give it to them equally because they are part of me as we are made in God's image. My equal love for them is not determined by their love for me. It never has been.
For Father Ryan to believe that God does not love us equally then one must consider this: If our souls have value and are loved by God, and for Jesus to say that there is no greater love than this, to lay down ones life for another, then it stands to reason that Jesus DID die for ALL of us. Not just for a few. If there had been only one soul on earth at the time, He still would have taken up His cross would He not? How many fathers reading this would not give his life for his child even if he had NO other children? Jesus gave ALL His love for Mary, St. Paul and for us when He was nailed to the cross. Not one more than another. There is no greater love than this and since there is no greater love and He died for all of us, then that love is equal for all of us.
I have received graces from God in my life but perhaps not the same ones that another received or in the same amount, because my 'role' in life was different than the other. Perhaps I did not need as much, or by withholding certain graces from me, he sought for me to ask for those graces. Our reception of grace is also determined at times to our asking our Lord for them. Yes, grace is unmerited and can be withheld, but not for the reason that Father Ryan believes, that God loves some less than others.
Was Mary given more grace because she was loved more or because she had a role to play that was special in creation that no other could fill and she needed to be immaculate? Or St. Paul? God saw something in Saul's misguided passion to hold on to the Hebrew faith and persecute those he perceived as an enemy of his faith. God offered him the grace to turn that passion into something positive because perhaps God had a special role for St. Paul to play in the conversion of the gentiles that perhaps none of the other apostles could fill. If there was anyone that would be considered annoying at the very least, or unlikeable and less loved it would have been St. Paul, but he was still offered grace. He chose to accept it and cooperate with those graces. He prayed that God would take away his 'thorn' yet God responded he would not, that His grace was sufficient.
We are all loved equally by God, but we are not all equal recipients of His grace, for each of us have different roles to play in creation, we all have different needs and some of us just simply ask for them. Just as my children do in my family.