After his resurrection, Jesus met Peter on the seashore. Three times he asked Peter, "Do you love me?" (How many times had Peter betrayed him before the rooster crowed? You get the idea.) But not everyone knows that Jesus used a different form of "love" the first two times he asked Peter than the last time.
The first time Jesus asked, "Peter, do you agapais (unconditionally, selflessly love) me?" Peter replied, "Lord, you know that I philow (love you as a brother) you."
The second time Jesus again asked, "Peter do you agapais me?" Peter answered, "Lord, you know that I philow you."
The third time, the Lord changes terms. He sees Peter's weakness; but instead of remaining aloof, Jesus meets Peter where he is. He asks, "Peter, do you phileis me?" And Peter, disturbed, answers, "Lord, you know all things. You know that I philow you" (John 21:15-17).
In this small pericope, we see in miniature God's unlimited willingness to meet us where we are. It is a trait that continues in the Catholic Church.
George Tyrrell notes this in his Reflections on Catholicism:
"... we feel that Catholicism is, in tendency, a religion of all levels of spiritual development, and not of one only; that it has milk for babes and meat for adults; that it is a language in which the simplest and the subtlest can hold converse with Heaven on the shallowest themes and the deepest. And this range and versatility commends it to us as a product of experience, of God working through Nature; and not a device of human reflection...
"I could not be satisfied with a religion which, however much it did for me, did nothing for the masses or for the classes -- too academic for the former, too barbaric for the latter. The board spread for all must have every sort of fare, so that each may find something, though none can find everything, to his taste and requirement ... It is only the fantastic notion that we must eat everything on the table that makes the banquet seem burdensome to us."
Arnold Lunn in reflecting on Tyrrells' reflections adds, "The Catholic family, then, is not a museum exhibit of saints, but a human family in which saints, publicans and sinners all feed from the same table."
And Jesus feeds us all, our Eucharistic Lord, forgives us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and asks, "Do you love me?" meeting us each right where we are.