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Happy Others Day! (What’s Love Got to Do With It?)

May 10, 2015

This is another short burst by John; so short and to the point I almost want to just ask, “Any questions,” and call it good.  [Wryly]  Almost

The Evangelist gives us this short Scripture passage.  Quickly, he’s making his point as we get a sense of urgency; Christ is approaching his Ascension.  Again, we hear him defining love; His love for us, the Father’s love for him; and implying therefore the Father’s love for us.  Love is the principle of the relation between the Father to the Son.  Once again, it’s all about love.

Try to be a disciple and picture what this Spirit might be.  Fr. Robert Barron writes, “What’s God like?  God is generous.  From all eternity the Father forgets himself, gives rise to the Son.  From before time the Son looks back at the Father – falls in love.  The Spirit – the Advocate – is the mutual love of the Father and the Son.  Whenever we make the Sign of the Cross we are invoking is a great community of divine generosity.  The Father doesn’t cling to himself, he others himself in the Son, the Son doesn’t cling to himself, he others himself in the Father.  The Spirit is the mutual othering of the Father and the Son.  And so, God is generous love.

Othering?  Yes! As Aquinas taught, we are to will the good of the other person as other, and then do something about it.  I am to wish my enemy all the best  – for their sake!!!  I am to receive nothing from this exchange, but to will for them goodness and happiness all the days of their life, in a way that does not benefit me in the slightest!  Then, and only then, do you understand love as Christ loves.  As Immanuel Kant explained in his imperative, to see the other person never as a means, but always an end unto themselves. (The Categorical Imperative states: “Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of another, always at the same time as an end and never merely as a means”).   THIS is love.

Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of another, always at the same time as an end and never merely as a means

This love, that Gods wills for us, has brought the Church into being.

So what do we have to do?  Two things.  First: Obedience and discipline!!  As disciples – hence the word discipline – as disciples now as was then, we must continue to keep ourselves worthy of the protection of Christ’s love.  This is done by obedience to the will of Christ, and by following his example.  And what was his example?  Love.  Unconditional othering to the other: our family, our friends, our neighbors, strangers, and yes, remember, our enemies.  Hard?  Yes, v-er-y hard.  But the love of Christ, gives the Christian the ability to live up to the ideal.  How do we become disciplined?  We practice.  A lot!!  Hold yourself up to the Gospels – the life of Christ.  How are you doing?  Need more discipline?  Get even closer to the Gospel.  Read it, believe it, live it!  Then we can become obedient.

The second thing to remember is this: it’s a promise.  It’s a promise.  Jesus tells us, “I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete.”  The reward for obedience and discipline is joy.  We get joy!  Eternal joy.  And not only our joy, but all those around us who become open to God.

Today is the National Day of Prayer. Officially, since 1952, when President Truman signed into existence.  But in truth, we have observed national and state days of prayer over 1,400 times since the founding of the Nation.  Days of time honored reverence in the form of fasting, humility, and prayer.  Seeking the good of the other.  In Ferguson.  In Baltimore.  In Sanford.  In South Central Los Angeles.  On the shores of Tripoli.  In Calcutta.  In Giza.  In Watts.  In Kent.  In Selma.  In Auschwitz.  And yes, in Jerusalem.  Not to be indignant at the status of prayer, and fidelity in our Nation – or any other nation that the Universal Church can touch – or despairing, bereft of hope, but to ride this form of love to remain eternally hopeful, and loving, for what prayer can become in our lives.

THAT kind of love.

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

 

Love, Papa

 

Thursday, May 7, 2015; Fifth Thursday of Easter

Acts 15:7-21.  It is my judgment, therefore, that we ought to stop troubling the Gentiles who turn to God.

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 96:3– Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations.

John 15:9-11.  Remain in my love, that your joy might be complete.

 

+ Would love to hear from you! Please feel free to leave your comments. I will respond… with love, of course!

 

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