Has not God in fact won for himself a claim on all our love? From all eternity he has loved us. And it is in this vein that he speaks to us: "O man, consider carefully that I first loved you. You had not yet appeared in the light of day, not did the world yet exist, but already I loved you. From all eternity I have loved you."
Since God knew that man is enticed by favors, he wished to bind him to his love by means of his gifts: I want to catch men with the snares, those chains of love in which they allow themselves to be entrapped, so that they will love me. And all the gifts which he bestowed on man were given to this end. He gave him a soul, made in his likeness. He endowed him with memory, intellect and will; he gave him a body equipped with the senses. It was for him that he created heaven and earth and such an abundance of things. He made all these things out of love for man, so that all creation might serve man, and man in turn might love God our of gratitude for so many gifts.
But he did not wish to give us only beautiful creatures; the truth is that to win for himself our love, he went so far as to bestow upon us the fullness of himself. The eternal Father went so far as to give us his only Son. When he saw that we were all dead through sin and deprived of his grace, what did he do? He sent his beloved Son to make reparation for us and to call us back to a sinless life.
-- Saint Alphonsus Liguori from a sermon