Perfecting the principle of love

October 29, 2014 at 11:15 am Leave a comment

by Jackie Pau, Oct 26, 2014

As we (the W2W Ministry) worked through life principles in Vision Therapy last Friday evening, we acknowledged that while the life principle of love was greatly desired, other life principles such as power, pleasure and the avoidance of responsibility often seem to take precedence and diminish our love efforts.

It is not easy to be a loving person all the time without wanting to be so on our own terms and conditions. Love is not easy. Whether it is at work, where our colleagues and bosses evoke feelings of dislike and even disgust, or at home, where the self-serving actions of family members make us angry and less inclined to be loving.

As Christians we all know the biblically correct answer: to love as Jesus did, but do we live it out as readily as we pronounced the words? Are our actions dictated by our personal experiences of a real and living God in our lives? Are we like the Thessalonians of long ago who were exemplary models for all believers with their joyful living and worshipping?

This morning Father Luke Fong reminded all present at mass that this fundamental experience of being loved by the Father is something we often overlook. When we forget how we have been touched by Divine love, we forget to honour and treasure that Divine love in true worship and gratitude. We are not able to see the Divine in others, especially those who are not like us (and therefore people we find difficult to love).

Thus we ignore that the call to love our neighbour is not just the person we know and love, but the stranger in our midst who grates on our nerves and offends our sensibilities. Is this brand of loving possible? Not on our own strength and, not all the time. But, through Him, with Him and in Him, we can overcome our human inclinations and love with perfection.

Father Luke explained that the perfection of God we are exhorted to emulate in Matthew 5:48 is not the Aristotelian or Platonic concept of being without flaw, but the Hebraic definition which is complete. When love is complete, it has no boundaries or demarcations, no distinctions. It is a mature love that transcends the flawed individuals and situations around us. And we can love others with no expectation of reciprocity or amity.

Father Luke also shared this story of what Father Daniel Berrigan (if I heard him correctly) responded when asked whether spirituality was more that of the mind or of the heart. He said it was neither, but more that of the ass, where and what we find ourselves sitting on, be it the whiny friend, obnoxious neighbour, hostile workplace or broken family.

As we women discovered on Friday, we are each placed in different life situations and we each face different challenges. We each sit in different places and on different circumstances. The common denominator is our love for God. So even though we are on different trajectories and in varied stages of our spiritual journeys, we can aspire to this perfection of love if we allow the law of gradualness to work in our lives.

The perfect love Father Luke spoke of can be ours if we place ourselves in the presence of God, in every breath and heartbeat, every single day. Rather than placing God in a box to forget Him until we attend mass weekly, we should live inside the box of Gods love so that we radiate His love as the Thessalonians did. The world becomes our oyster for we have the pearl of great price in our grasp, this incomparable living, breathing love of God.

How we arrive at this place of perfect love is as much in our commitment to prayer (that is to be teachable and open to the wisdom of God in our lives), as it is in our attitude and its attendant actions (to do the right thing always even when we dont feel like it and we stand to lose out). And it takes, in the words of Pope Francis, patient expectation and apostolic endurance, without grumbling or overreacting (Evangelii Gaudium 24).

Matt Redman reminds us in his song Heart of Worship: its all about you, Jesus. If we truly do make our worship all about Jesus, in as many waking moments as possible, then we are on our way to making the principle of love ours in our daily living. We will keep on trying in our current situations to be the better person, choose the better part and make the best decision, rather than allow the muddy waters we are in to besmirch our integrity and make us falter.

Thank you, Father Luke, for an inspiring homily, and helping me see how I can keep the greatest commandment of loving God wholeheartedly in loving self and neighbour with completeness. So I can be perfect, as my heavenly Father is perfect.

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Entry filed under: Inspiring Faith.

World Mission Sunday 2014. Love Dictates Us to Love

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