Grace to you!
Previously, I shared some thoughts on the dress code for participants at the heavenly feast. Borrowing from Saint Augustine and other Church fathers, rooted in Scripture, I wrote it is love—charity. I would love to extend that reflection by drawing from the Blessed Lord's answer to the Pharisee, 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, depended the Law and the prophets (see Matthew 22:34 to 40).
When I read those words, which I have read repeatedly, I am drawn to ponder 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 continuously 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 Saint Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 12:31, where it said love is the greatest. She claimed right then she found her answer. It stuck. She exclaimed: "Yes, I have found my vocation; my vocation is to love."
She wrote about her experience in her very words told in her autobiography. She wrote the autobiography at the request of her religious superior and out of obedience. It was published posthumously. She wrote: "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 pure joy and 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 of what that love is for me and many. It is about self-emptying so that all around us could witness the joy of salvation, the Lord's joy, and the glory of God's face. As the theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar would say, in Christ's love and incarnation, we find God's glory.
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 divine agape, inspiring and gracing the heart once broken.
It is selfless service so that we may 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 in 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.
[Friday Week 20, Ezekiel 37:1–14; Matthew 22:34–40]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.