Greetings dear family of our beloved Saviour Jesus Christ; may Jesus fill your hearts with every grace and blessing from above. Amen.
“Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins.” (1Peter 4:8)
There is a tradition, which says that whilst the disciple John was on the island of Patmos, his followers came to him and asked that he teach them “something new.” John’s reply was: “love, love, love, there is nothing more.” Whilst this seems a rather simple answer, it is also very profound – what else is there that we must do but love?
“Let all that you do be done in love.” (1 Cor 16:14)
Love is the summit of perfection; it is the highest gift – because it is the Spirit of God Himself within us. God provides the love, and we must provide an open and willing heart that is ready to receive it, nurture it, and share it, so that God may use our heart to distribute His love to others.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 13:34).
Christian love is more than a sentiment or an emotion, it is also an act of the will. We may not always feel drawn to love another person; we may not always feel a desire to perform a certain duty or to pray. But we engage our will and give that person our love, we engage our will and perform that duty, we engage our will and pray. We do not always carry out these duties because we feel an attraction for them, but because we know that it is the will of the Lord that we do these things.
“Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit and serve the Lord.” (Rom 12:11)
Authentic love has the heart and mind of Christ. This love practices the works of mercy, and is not afraid of sacrifice, but desires to give of itself to others. Jesus was perfect; when He helped a person He felt a genuine love for that person – regardless of their character. Our love is still imperfect, we cannot always feel that attraction towards another person, but we have our duty to perform for the love Jesus, and so we engage our will.
“You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt 5:48)
We do not become perfect overnight – neither does God expect us to be. Our love will mature over time as we become more open to the Spirit. A pure heart comes from being transformed by the love of God, and this transformation comes from having a deep and personal relationship with Jesus and a desire to surrender our lives to Him. It comes through a frequent participation in the grace of the Sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist.
It comes from a longing to be obedient to His loving will, and it comes by loving God and our neighbour, with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength. Then, one day, we shall hear the voice of our Master say to us:
“Many sins are forgiven you because you have loved so much; come My beloved child, My good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Father’s Kingdom, prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”