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Count the Ways He Loves Us!
Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter
“Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” Judas, not the Iscariot, said to him, “Master, [then] what happened that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that [I] told you.”
Opening Prayer: God my Father, I know that you love me. I love that you love me, and wish to love you more in return. Teach me to keep your word, remind me of all you have told me, and make your dwelling in me so that I cannot possibly not love you!
- Words and Commands: First Jesus said, “Whoever observes my commandments is the one who loves me.” Then he said, “Whoever loves me will keep my word.” Are words and commands the same? For God they are. His words have the efficacy of divine commands; what he says comes to pass. “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” Christ also “pre-spoke” his own Resurrection; he predicted it. Sure enough, he rose again, thus confirming everything he had taught and preached. But there is one thing that God’s word cannot command: our free love.
- Overwhelming Love: There is no defect in divine power, but the nature of freedom is such that free love cannot be forced. Therefore Jesus, loving us as he does, is “forced” to woo us. He asks, begs, pleads; he works, sacrifices, demonstrates his love by countless acts of devotion. His speech at the Last Supper is a torrent of lovesickness, promising wonders if only we return his love. “I will love him,” he says. “I will reveal myself to him.” “My Father will love him.” “We will come to him.” “We will make our dwelling with him.” Such beautiful promises, but what if I allow his love in? I pray, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”
- Forever and Always and for Everyone?: Judas, struck by divine love, wanted the whole world to have Jesus too. “Master, [then] what happened that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” He seems to ask, “Is this only here and now, for us few disciples hidden in this room? Can we not universalize this marvelous love?” Jesus replied, “Yes,” after his manner. “The world has my word, the world has my commandments. The world also has you, Judas, and the other apostles. And if they listen and heed my voice through you, my Father and I will dwell in them.” This love is for the whole world. With the aid of the Holy Spirit, hearts will requite the love of Jesus, the Father’s divine word.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, I love you. I love your words and commands. I love the Father who sent you. I love the Spirit of holiness who dwells in me. I love your Church and your apostles. I love your love, and everything about you.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will journal for a few moments, writing down the ways in which God loves me and I love God.
For Further Reflection: Sonnet 43, by Elizabeth Barret Browning.
Written by Br. Erik Burckel, LC