Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Daily - More on Love

NOTE: I wrote this message in May, immediately after Father Corapi's conference in St. Louis. It's my favorite message of the year. It also matches up with my last couple of emails on how to live a life of love.

John 14:6-14

6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him."
8 Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied."
9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, `Show us the Father'?
10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.
11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.
12 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father.
13 Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; 14 if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.

Today I'm basking in the afterglow of Father Corapi's conference. It was really good, and helped me put together some things solidly in my head.
From today's reading we know that God and his only begotten son Christ are truth, absolute truth. From other readings in John's gospel we know that God is absolute love. They are one and the same. If I want to deepen my relationship with Christ -- ie, get deeper in the truth -- the way to do so is straightforward and clearly stated in the gospels. I need to get deeper in love.
How do I do that? The answer in the gospels is surprisingly clear. Two commandments. Love God. Love your neighbor. The more deeply I can do BOTH of them, the closer I can get to the truth.
If I want to grow spiritually -- and I do -- studying and reading and thinking and even praying to grow only get me so far. I've hit a point where I've proven that to myself. In the end, I must "do." I must love. Everyone.
It's pretty easy to love some people. I love my kids. I love my wife. But do I live out that love? How about when she asks me to do something I don't want to do, or I think is stupid? What if we're on the edge of an argument? What if I've done 104 things on our "do list", and all we seem to discuss is #105 that hasn't been done yet? How do I love her then?
I have to lay down and love. That's called humility. And that's hard, even for someone that I love deeply. Let alone someone I can't stand.
Yet if I want to get closer to God, I have to love. I have to lay down in front of others and be their servant. The only way to develop the virtue of humility is to be humiliated. There is no other way.

When I forget this, or when I feel like I just CAN'T humble myself, I need to look straight at the Cross and think HARD about the person I see. I need to look at the One we read about in Philippians 2:
6 Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.
7 Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance,
8 he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.
9 Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The great saints of prayer all say this. To have a deep relationship with God, one must live the gospels, and develop the virtues of charity and humility. Other virtues too, but if you concentrate on those, the others will come.