This month, Everyday Ediths has been focusing on the theme of love.
When asked which was the greatest commandment, Jesus responded in Mark 12:29-31,
“Jesus answered, “The first is ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Love isn’t always the simplest and easiest road to take. Often, we are blinded and bruised by another’s actions, and our quickest, natural response is to retaliate. We don’t want to see another person happy, or excited, or even successful. Rather, we want to focus on making them pay for their transgressions toward us.
However, as we delve deeper into our Faith, which is so central to our way of life, we are forced to recognize the ultimate example of love right before us – Christ.
Throughout His life, Christ was placed in precarious situations. People taunted, people tested, people ultimately wished the worst. Eventually, people acted upon those wishes, between selling Him out, to calling for His death, and ultimately, watching Him die. Throughout everything Christ experienced, not once did He call for retribution toward His accusers nor did He condemn them.
Instead, He took the pain and the uncertainty to God, our Father, and as it states in Luke 22:42, in the Garden of Gethsemane, asks,
Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.
Then, as He hung on the cross, suffering through the physical discomfort of lungs collapsing, some of His last words in Luke 23:34 were,
Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.
As Christ hung on the cross, as He struggled for His final breaths, Christ showed us the absolute measure of love. As St. Thomas Aquinas is quoted as saying,
Man will be happy only if they despise what Jesus despised on the Cross and love what Jesus loved on the Cross.
By accepting the Father’s will of what was to come, Christ was openly embracing the act of love – not just for those who would go on to torture and murder Him, but rather, for love of those who were to come, even centuries later.
He would embrace the action of love for every. single. one. of. us.
A concept that is most unfathomable to consider is that, from the time of creation of the world, every single one of us have been destined to be born. God works outside of time – therefore, He knew that Christ would be in a certain time at a certain place in history. He knew humanity would succumb to the wickedness and snares of the devil and his demons by acting upon hatred which prompted two world wars. He even allowed Mary, in her compassion, to warn citizens of Rwanda about impending doom if they did not have a conversion of heart and actively seek love of God… and, love of neighbor.
As St. Teresa of Avila is credited with saying,
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
God the Father knew we would be needed in our world today. He knew that the love He shared with us – the physical, tangible representation of love in the form of His Son – would be the antidote to the evil we can easily find around us.
He knew, by providing His Son as a sacrifice for our sins centuries ago, we would continue to turn toward God and actively recognize the Father’s love, as exemplified through the Son. He then knew, that love would carry through, centuries later, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
What an awe-some concept.
God loved us from the moment of creation.
God loved us so much, He gave us His only Son to redeem our sins.
God loved us with such passion and fervor, that He died for us – centuries before we were a twinkle in any other human’s eye.
God loved us so ardently, He continues to come to us every time we attend Mass, through the Sacrament of Communion.
God loves us so intensely, He did not abandon us upon His resurrection – and, rather, came to us in the form of the Holy Spirit, through our baptism, and dwells in our hearts to lead us back to Him.
When we look to God, we see strength. We see compassion. We see devotion.
We see love.
An unknown speaker was once credited with saying, “Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you: Jesus Christ and the American G.I. One died for your soul; the other for your freedom.”
With those words, we are forced to recognize the ultimate showcase of love – love of another.
While not all of us are called to end our lives for the love of another, we are called to devote our lives for love of another.
We are called to be committed to one another.
We are called to be wary of social justice issues.
We are called to serve one another.
Love isn’t just about chocolates, hearts, and flowers.
Instead, love is about action – radical action, modeled by the One who makes all things possible.
Love is about radical action to put another’s needs in front of our own.
Love is about radical action to change our world for the better.
Which begs the question – how will you allow Christ’s example of love to guide you on Valentine’s Day this year?
How will you allow Christ’s example of love guide you through Lent 2018?
How will you allow Christ’s example of love guide you through the remainder of 2018, and further?
For more thoughts on love, don’t miss out on the pieces previously posted here on Everyday Ediths by some fantastic bloggers this month: