Grace to you!
Yesterday, I shared some thoughts on the dress code for participants at the heavenly feast. Borrowing from Saint Augustine and other fathers of the Church, rooted in the bible, I wrote it is love – charity. I would love to extend that reflection by drawing from Jesus’ answer to the Pharisee who was a lawyer.
The Lawyer asked Jesus the question, “Which is the greatest of the commandments?" Jesus replied that the first is the love of God and the second is the love of neighbor. And on these two commandments, he said, depend the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:34 to 40).
When I read those words, which by the way I have read over and over again and, I suppose, you are pretty familiar with, I am drawn to ponder on the meaning of those words for me this moment. How do they speak to my spiritual and social life? How do I reflect God's love and love of my neighbor, especially towards that guy who drives me crazy?
I am reminded of the Little Flower, Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus. She prayed and constantly asked God to lead her to discover her unique vocation in life. It wasn’t simply about the vocation for “status” in life. She was already a religious nun. She wanted to find her place in the religious life, her place in the Body of Christ.
After many years of searching, praying and reading, she came across St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 12:31, where it said love is the greatest. She claimed right then the answer was found and it stuck. She exclaimed: “Yes I have found my vocation; my vocation is to love.”
In her very words told in her autobiography, which was written out of obedience and published posthumously, “Then, nearly ecstatic with supreme joy in my soul, I proclaimed: O Jesus, my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is love. Certainly I have found my proper place in the Church, and you gave me that very place, my God. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love, and thus I will be all things, as my desire finds its direction.”
Love all the way through is the answer to finding true joy, inner peace. It’s the way of God, the way to true faith and true religion.
As I contemplate Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, I am reminded what that love is about. It is about self-emptying so that all around us could witness the joy of salvation, the joy of the Lord and the glory of God’s face. As the theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar would say, in Christ’s love and incarnation, we find the glory of God.
It is forgiveness so that all who hurt us could feel reconciled, and hopefully be reconciled. It is joy so that the sad and forlorn could be renewed and rejuvenated.
It is hope so that the darkness of despair could be overcome by the brilliance of holy agape, inspiring and gracing the heart once broken.
It is selfless service so that we no longer live for ourselves alone, but for others in Him who died for us, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is sacrifice so that my neighbor could experience the hospitality and validation of being and feeling a priority.
It is being God to other people so that they can say, as the poor Indian homeless said because of the live-example of Mother Theresa Calcutta: “If Christ is like you, I will love to see him and to know him.”
Love is all it takes. Love is our passcode to perfect law, perfect life and perfect peace.
Lord Jesus Christ, increase your love in our hearts so we can love as you love. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu.
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.