God does not love certain persons in a subjective manner, He loves everyone in a perfect manner because subjectiveness is a consequence of not loving everyone, that is of an imperfect love. He loves us all the same either we are saints or flagrant sinners.
That is the very reason why He was crucified for everyone, for everyone’s salvation and He wants all of us to open our heart and mind and receive Him within our person continuously.
How we open up to Him and what we do out of love for Him and for our fellow humans, for whom He let Himself be put to death in a shameful manner so that the world may have life, is part of our contribution to our own salvation which is a co-production/co-operation with God.
According to Saint Gregory Palamas, Our Most Holy Lady has not received special grace to live a Godly life, but the same grace all people receive in order to save their souls. But her longing for God was so great that She did not commit any personal sins in Her entire holy life.
The same for our Saviour, Saint Maximus the Confessor says, He facilitated the receiving of so much grace by the human nature which He assumed within His Person, that it was necessary for Him to bear the tremendous anguish of crucifixion. And He did that in order to strengthen His human nature, that is to fill it with grace, to make it become fully godlike so that we can appropriate from His deified humanness the strength to fight against the passions within us and to defeat them just like the Lord did: through the struggle of our entire being while being fortified by His grace.
Therefore, our Lord Christ did not show favouritism towards Himself while on the Cross or in any other moments of His earthly life, nor did He show favouritism towards His Mother or His Holy Apostles. On the contrary He told them and us: if they persecuted Me, they shall persecute you as well.
However, beyond any reasonable doubt the tripersonal Love, our Trinitarian God shows His overwhelming love in all those who love Him and live a holy life in communion with Him.
And the Gospels which speak of “His beloved apprentice” refer to the Lord’s most loving response to the apprentice’s complete love. That is why Saint John was loved by the Lord in a special manner: because the former also loved Him tremendously.
(Father Dorin Picioruş – The Series “Awkward questions”)
Translated by Claudia