John 15:8-11 Remain in Love
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 don’t know about you, but I tend to think best right after I wake up in the morning. This morning was no exception. I have always wondered why the Lord never revealed himself to the entire world, and why he insisted on having his disciples do it for him. The answer is shocking. The Lord did not come into the world to reveal himself. He came into the world to reveal the Father: His Word, His Will and most importantly, His Love. Jesus is the revelation of the Father’s love.
We are the manifestation of Christ’s love.
We, Christians, empowered by the Holy Spirit, reveal the Son to the world. And the world will see the Son through us and come to believe in Him through us. This is how we came to believe in the only Son of God. Conversion goes hand in hand with revelation. The conversion of the sinner is what gives God’s Revelation, God’s Love, authority. The martyr is what seals the deal.
In a certain way, I see some storms coming over the horizon for the Roman Catholic Church in America. Soon enough, I see the big bad wolf and the lamb in a struggle over religious liberty. I see bishops and priests being sent to jail for upholding religious liberty. I see Catholics going to jail. I also see Catholics cheering the government on. I hope I am wrong but if I am not, then I hope the faithful will have their chance to show their love for the Lord; a love that goes beyond all other loves and a belief that goes beyond all imagination. We can do it. We can show the world who we love just like the early Christians in the arena showed the world who they truly loved.
Love is a virtue not well taught. What exactly does it mean “to love someone?” Love is much more than being nice to someone; much more than being thoughtful of someone; much more than being kind to someone. Love means to imitate someone: Jesus Christ. Love means to give what is good to someone, regardless of whom that someone is and regardless of how much it hurts. Love is not limited to time and place. Love is not limited to friends or family. Love is not limited by blood or guts. Christian love, like Christ's love, goes beyond time, place, friends, family, life, death, blood and guts. Christian Love, like God, is unlimited in its depth, height and reach, for it is freely given, without reservations and without conditions, to friend and foe alike. As difficult as this may seem, it is what changes the world towards good; it is what creates a spark in the world; it is what sets the world ablaze. It is what gives Revelation credibility.
Prepare yourself for battle. Prepare yourself to love. How? Take an inventory of your recent actions. Write them down. Separate the wheat from the weeds, the good from the bad. With regards to the bad, can any of them be grouped together under any of the seven vices? If so, then do it. Which vice has the most sins under it? Start your battle there. The best way to destroy any sinful habits is to replace them with concrete positive acts.
The point is this: Love is written in our DNA. But like a genetic disorder may be caused by environmental conditions, so sin has mutated love and turned it inward; towards itself. Instead of love being selfless, it ends up being selfish. Instead of love being creative, it quickly becomes destructive. Instead of love being explosive as the Big Bang, it is smothered in mud. The meaning of love was once taken for granted; now, it must be rehabilitated.
Thank God love does not require an advanced degree. Thank God! Otherwise we would have colleges making money handing out Love Degrees. I find it remarkable that we have not yet gone down that route. After all, we seem to give degrees for just about every conceivable thing. And yet, when it comes to love, we tend to understand that studies are not how love is learned. Rather, love is learned by example. Christ provides the greatest example of love.
A man who has been married for over twenty-five years came to me and told me that his wife is bored of him. I asked him, “How can she be bored with you? You are a multi-millionaire. You have all the means at your disposal to do something great for your wife. Surprise her. Buy two tickets and fly to Europe.” He looked at me, nodded and said, “You’re right. I will. I will take her to Ireland.” I said to him in disbelief, “Ireland? Ireland?? She’ll catch pneumonia there! Take her to Paris. Take her to Rome. Don’t take her to Ireland!!!” I thought to myself, “How sad it is when a priest is more romantic than a married man!”
Let us follow the example of the King of Love. Let us follow Him all the way! “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.”
Go out of your way to be a Catholic, the Lord will provide many ways to show yourself. Go out of your way to be a Father/Mother, to be a husband/wife, to be a son/daughter, to be a friend to friends and a surprise to foes. Go out of your way in the way of the Lord. It will not be disappointing. It will be refreshing. Remain in love. Whose love is greater than yours? Be a soldier for Christ. Pick a fight.
The Lord knows how to start a romance!