17th Sunday after Pentecost 16.9.18 Love from the heart
We are to love God with our whole heart, and soul, and mind. This is the greatest commandment encompassing all the others. Any breach of any commandment must be a failure to love God.
We can have various problems with loving God.
We might see love as simply a matter of obedience. If we keep God's commands should that not satisfy Him? Certainly we should obey Him, but He wants more than that.
He does not want us to serve Him as slaves or servants, but as sons (Ga 4,7), or friends (Jn 15,15).
He does not want us to keep Him at arm’s length, or regard Him as a business partner with whom we do transactions.
He does not want us to fear Him. There is ‘Fear of the Lord’ but that means reverence and awe. Certainly we should be reverent before Almighty God, but He does not want us to be quaking with fear. He wishes only to bless us, not harm us.
It has to be love from the heart – something we actually want to do. As we do for the people we love, so we want to please God, for His sake.
It has to be love in action; so that it is not just a matter of theory, or a concept.
God can seem remote. We are so busy just keeping our heads above water, we may think we cannot give much time to contemplation. We cannot simply click into higher levels of prayer, but God can lift us to higher things, to a deeper communion with Him.
As we draw closer to Him we grow in trust and understanding. We no longer want to argue with Him, or complain about His treatment of us. We no longer think He is remote, beyond the clouds, impersonally watching us.
We can do certain things to become more familiar with Him, to make our way towards Him. There is always prayer, the Mass, the Sacraments, good spiritual reading/viewing; and of course good works, acts of charity.
But the real momentum comes from God. The way for us to love Him is to let Him love us.
We do not resist. Like a flower opening up to the sun, we let God's love work on us.
Our hearts are changed as we are exposed to the love of God. We lose the rough edges, the hardness of heart, any and all of the negative qualities we may have accumulated so far.
If we stand in the sun long enough there has to be an effect.
Some are called further than others, according to how God has designed each person.
We still obey Him in the practical everyday things. This is where we can find whether we really love God or not.
But it should get easier to obey and to trust. That would indicate our hearts are developing in the right direction.
I want to be whatever God wants me to be. I don’t care if I am higher or lower than others, as long as I am in the right place with Him.
For each one of us: Be as good as you can be; love as much as you can; and, for others, pray that each of them find where he is supposed to be.
It is much easier to deal with obligations if we have an overall sense of how it all holds together. Our faith is not just an arbitrary collection of rules, outdated ones at that!
Everything that comes from God is perfectly coordinated and harmonious, including His commands. It is all designed to purify us of sin and bind us to Him in everlasting joy.