Last week I shared here the first in a series of reflections on love. I mentioned our desire to love and be loved is not present in us because of our own doing but because God intentionally created us this way. God's understanding of love is much greater than the limited notion of it simply being an emotion or a feeling. For God, love never seeks its own interest and relentlessly pursues the good of other people, regardless of the cost. That is why God tells us we need to love even our enemies. Jesus willingly offering Himself for crucifixion makes this clear. We are reminded of this each time at Mass when the priest repeats the words of Jesus at the consecration: "This is My body given up for you!"
The opening prayer of Mass this weekend is as follows: O God, who founded all the commands of your sacred Law upon love of you and of our neighbor, grant that, by keeping your precepts, we may merit to attain eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ... Through this prayer we are being reminded that each of God's teachings and commandments are about loving God and neighbor. When we take them to heart, and allow them to direct our thoughts and actions, the benefit for doing so extends beyond this world into eternity.
Jesus, being the Good Shepherd that He is, reminds us during our weakness that God's commandments are not burdensome. Every person has the ability, if they apply themselves, to live according to the plan of Godly love. Even the thought of acting differently is not present in any person in heaven. Choosing to disregard any of God's commandments is choosing to only partially live the plan of Godly love. There is good in every person, but the unGodly aspects of them are what damages their relationships with others and prevents them from entering heaven. We see that at every level of society.
The sins of pride and selfishness are the cancers that are destroying us and society at many levels. It's well worth our time to examine the many ways that these two sins give birth to every other sin. They are completely incompatible with heaven, yet many people allow these to remain part of their daily thoughts and actions. These two sins are the freeway to hell that many are traveling. In the first Scripture reading at Mass last week, God asked us to reflect on why “the sinner hugs [sin] tight”? Why do we cling to what prevents us from entering heaven?
You might consider praying the following prayer, or something similar to it, each day. Lord, help me to love You authentically with my whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. Help me to have such an honest love for You that it overflows to others. Help me to look past myself in pride and selfishness. Help me grow in self-discipline so that I will generously and sacrificially give of myself to You and my neighbor. May Your holiness permeate my life completely and totally, and help others do the same. Amen.
Jesus, I Trust in You,