Love Is All You Need

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Feast of Saint Matthias, Apostle

John 15:9-17
 
Jesus said to his disciples: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.”
 
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, teach me how to love. Strengthen my weakness. Help me to abide in your love by keeping your commandments. 
 
Encountering Christ:

  1. Joy through Loving: Jesus invites us to live a life of joy and peace, secure in the love of our Father and Creator. He wishes for us to remain in his love and delight in his friendship. We are chosen to live abundant lives as friends of Jesus our  Savior. Learning to love as Jesus loved is the task of a lifetime. Father Thomas Wells married hundreds of couples during his life as a parish priest. He exhorted at every wedding: “I beg you, I beg you, I beg you, every day and every night of your life, get down on your knees and ask the Lord to teach you how to love!” No matter our vocation, no matter our state in life, this should be our constant prayer. 
  2. Joy versus Happiness: Happiness is rooted in our human experience. It is related to our feelings and often can be influenced by others or by our circumstances. Joy is rooted deeply in our souls and does not depend on our circumstances or the actions of other people. The joy we find when we abide in God and strive to keep his commandments is indeed complete; to remain in the Father’s love is to experience his peace. The Father’s love for us is the source of our joy. Scripture abounds with descriptions of this love; he calls us a chosen people (1 Peter 2:9), says that he has loved us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3), and calls us his children (John 1:12). The Creator of the universe, the Lord of history, loves us and wants our friendship. What joy indeed!
  3. Love Sacrificially: Jesus laid his life down for us and called us his friends. He commanded us to love one another as he loves us. This love (charity) is the greatest of the theological virtues; it encompasses obedience to the Lord, and merciful love towards each other. Jesus’s command is very clear, but living by these words can be difficult because of our fallen nature. When we choose not to love, we ultimately shortchange ourselves because we miss out on the joy Jesus has promised if we strive to live by the greatest commandment. What a comfort supernatural joy can be in this time of uncertainty!

Conversing with Christ: My Lord and my God, your promises are so comforting. Teach me to constantly turn to you for guidance and wisdom. Make strong my weak efforts to follow you, to keep your commandments, and to love others as you have loved me. Keep me from being tempted by short-term happiness and satisfaction; lead me in your ways. 
 
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will give you the first moments each day, prayerfully asking for you to ignite my heart with love for you and all of your children.
 
For Further Reflection: The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
 
Cathy Stamper lives in Maryland and has five adult children with her husband of thirty years. They owned and operated a family business for twenty-nine years. She is a member of Regnum Christi and has been active in the Leadership Training Program and Walking With Purpose.

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