Wednesday, May 14, 2014

“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.”

"What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like." -- St. Augustine of Hippo

Gospel Text: (JN 15:9-17)
Jesus said to his disciples:
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.

“I have told you this so that my joy might be in you
and your joy might be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.”

An American writer once said that history — or at least all human history — is a record of the encounter between character and circumstance. I think that’s true. Life is the crucible where we discover what we really believe . . . as opposed to what we say we believe.

The first Apostles, mere fisherman and laborers, acted on the life of Jesus Christ. They witnessed and taught His Gospel . . . and they traveled all over the Mediterranean world to do it.

The point is, Christian love is an active verb. The believer is attentive to God, receptive to God — but never passive. One of the great sources of confusion in the world today, and even in the Church, is the way we so easily diminish love by mistaking it for a warm set of feelings. Those feelings are wonderful when they occur . . . but they’re also unreliable. They can even be misleading.

Real love is not something we consume like an entertainment or a drug. It’s something we co-create with God. It involves the will. It involves choosing to do a right action — a selfless action — and then actually doing it. That’s what changes human hearts. In the long run, people remember what we do, a lot more clearly than anything we say. The Apostles preached first with their lives, then with their words. People listened because they saw. In exactly the same way, if we live well and love well because of the Gospel...only then will people begin to listen to what we say about the Gospel.

How do we do this because you can bet that it can not be done by reading a self-help book from Barnes & Noble?

I think Mother Teresa put it best in her description of how we transform “Christian love” from a concept into an active verb:

When you look at electrical things you can see that they are made of small and big wires, cheap and expensive all lined up. Until the current runs through them there will be no light. Those wires are you and me and the current is God. We have the power to let the current pass through us, use us and produce the light of the world or we can refuse to be used and allow darkness to spread.

So in the final analysis, the first move is ours, we need to “plug in” to the “source” in order to produce “light”. If we refuse “Christian love” will remain a concept and from where I come from, talk is very cheap.

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