Monday, June 22, 2009

The Love of Jesus

Jesus gives us His own commandment on love in the Gospel of John. He says we are to "love one another as I love you" (Jn 15:12). We are to love our neighbor as Jesus loves loves our neighbor. This goes in quite a different direction than loving one's neighbor as oneself. St. Therese of Lisieux came to realize how imperfect was her love for her sisters when she came to understand that she did not love them as God loves them. "I understand now that charity consists in bearing with the faults of others, in not being surprised at their weakness, in being edified by the smallest acts of virtue we see them practice. But I understood above all that charity must not remain hidden in the bottom of the heart." (Story of a Soul, chapter 10) Oh, how often charity remains in the bottom of the heart! Charity does not consist in feelings; it must be expressed in deeds. Charity should begin in our thoughts towards others remembering that Jesus has said: "Stop judging, that you may not be judged" (Mt. 7:1). How impossible this seems; yet St. Therese found a way to overcome the weaknesses and imperfections of love she discovered in herself. She first came to understand that "never would I be able to love my Sisters as You love them, unless You, O my Jesus, loved them in me". Trusting that Jesus wanted to give her this grace and assured that His will is to love, she exclaimed, "Oh! how I love this new commandment since it give me the assurance that Your will is to love in me all those You command me to love! Yes, I feel it, when I am charitable, it is Jesus alone who is acting in me, and the more united I am to Him, the more also do I love my Sisters."

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