18 Sep Do you love Jesus practically?
So, the word “Love” is a paradox that cannot be explained in a plausible manner. Everyone professes his/her love for someone or something. We believe that we are ahead of the curve and know how to love and how best to express our feelings of love.
We can only presumably believe the person who tells us that he loves us. However, one cannot really assess the depth or the genuineness of a person’s proclamation of his/her love for us.
As Christians, we conceive that we all love Jesus deeply. We proclaim our love for the Son of God in many different ways. We scream from mountain tops,” I love Jesus”, “I follow Jesus”.
But, the big question is: is our devotion to the son of God pure, honorable and edifying? Do I love Jesus biblically, and practically? Let’s put our cards on the table and make an honest assessment on the degree of our love for the Lord Jesus.
Am I loving Jesus the way that he wants us to?
How does Jesus want us to love him? Has he revealed to us as to how we must love him?
Let us examine the scripture and see what Jesus wants us to do.
In Matthew 10:37, Jesus speaks : “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”
One rightly wonders if it is really possible to love Jesus more than one’s father, mother or children. How many of us can let go of our family and possessions, and love Jesus with all our heart, mind and soul?
Jesus again tells us inJohn 16:27- for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.
To lead a holy and Christian life, we must first look towards falling in love with Jesus completely. At times, don’t we all say that we have forgiven people who have wronged us? But prod further and we draw a blank. We realize that we do not really make an effort to talk to these people. We keep them at bay on the pretext that they hate to get associated with us. We avoid them to stay away from trouble. Is this real forgiveness?
When we are in sinful bondages, we fail to recognize the mistakes that we commit, and keep finding faults with others. This happens because we do not really love Jesus. There is a veil over our face that prevents us from approaching God and receiving the blessings that he has already showered upon us two thousand years ago.
When we entertain wrong relationships, addictions, drinks, drugs, pornography etc., and nurse hatred, revenge and anger in our minds, we fail to find Jesus and receive his blessings. Hours and hours of attending retreats and prayers will not help us love Jesus under such circumstances. There is a blanket of darkness over our face that is blocking our relationship with Christ.
In John 14:15 Jesus states, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
Do you love Jesus by obeying His commandments?
To love Jesus wholeheartedly, we must stay away from all sinful bondages and worldly attachments. Do we love Jesus more than our Spouse or our children? When there is a crisis in your life, when you lose your spouse, when you lose your beauty, health, wealth, and position, would you still love Jesus?
If we are able to say “Yes “to all these, we can safely and assertively say that we love Jesus truly and practically, just as Job did.
The Story of Job
The steadfast love of Job even when he loses all his possessions, friends and family is one that should be an inspiration for us to love Jesus, no matter what, and practically.
When Job’s wife tells him in Job 2:9- “Do you still persist in your integrity? Curse God, and die.” We see that Job still persists and did not sin with his lips. He tells his wife, “Shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?”
The integrity and steadfastness of Job is visible in his proclamation, “the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Job could proclaim this without batting an eyelid because he was truly in love with God. Nothing could come between him and God. Job loved Jesus practically.
Love God before you foray into Christian Devotion
Before we lead a Christian life, we have to make sure that we are in love with God. If you have experienced God, and is sure that He is a living God, you will never divert from any of your chosen paths, be it family life, spiritual life, missionary life, priestly life, or whatever other path you have chosen to follow in your life on earth: you will never compromise.
In any activity that we do, we must come before the Blessed Sacrament and ask God to keep us away from committing any mistakes purposely.
We must ask God to remind us of any sin that we have committed so that we may repent and come out of it.
It is very difficult to make a promise to keep away from mistakes that hurt our Lord who loves us dearly. If you really love Jesus, you will never hurt him. We must assess our conscience and see if we have committed any mistakes through our actions, words and behavior that hurt our Lord Jesus. Let us repent and say “Sorry” to Him.
It could at times be difficult for us to handle our character and keep away from these transgressions. But if we genuinely desire to keep away from sin, our lord will help us stay away from evil deeds.
God knows that we need to handle our personality and behaviour. He knows what we are going through, and the situation we are trying to rectify. He will give us special graces to handle our character and personality, and come out of the sin unscathed.
The Story of Pedro Arrupe
The story of Pedro Arrupe is an awe inspiring story of pure devotion to Jesus after a time of extreme confusion. Fr. Pedro Arrupe was a Spanish Basque Jesuit priest who served as the 28th Superior General of the Society of Jesus from 1965 to 1983. He had a strong desire to become and priest and was preparing himself to become one.
It was then that Pedro Arrupe received a meritorious and much acclaimed scholarship for medical studies. He was totally confused. While his desire to become a priest was very prominent in his heart, he also did not want to waste the scholarship that was awarded to him.
Pedro Arrupe wondered why God would give him the scholarship if He really wanted him to pursue the spiritual path of priesthood.
He approached his spiritual father for guidance. Pedro was asked if he loved Jesus, to which he nodded in the affirmative. He was again asked if he loved Jesus practically. This profound question made him think and realize that his love for Jesus was lacking in something important that is needed for his spiritual communion with God.
His spiritual father told him that receiving a scholarship at the last minute does not mean that he is destined for medical profession. It could also come from the evil spirit to divert him from the powerful ministry that God wants him to pursue. He told Pedro not to be carried away by the attractions that come at the last moment when he has a special call to become a priest.
To attain this solid devotion to Jesus, Pedro Arrupe removed himself from the world and spent time in deep prayer and meditation. Then came an occasion for him to visit Lourdes with his family. While he was standing on the street watching the sick people lined up on both sides of the road; the blessed sacrament exposition and procession advancing through the crowd slowly, Pedro Arrupe passively watched a paralyzed man on the side of road. He looked at the man and was inspired to pray thus,
“Lord if you are a living God, show me your presence and help me to believe in you. Consecrate my whole life totally to you and help me clear my intellectual doubts about your being a living God. If you are really there, let this man get up and walk.”
The priest carrying the Blessed Sacrament slowly approached the crowd. All the sick people were praying and praising God. Pedro watched the paralyzed man and begged for a sign from God to help him seal his vocation.
As the priest was lifting the Blessed Sacrament and blessing all the sick people. Pedro Arrupe lifted his head and looked up. He saw the paralyzed man crying and struggling to get up.
Suddenly, to his great amazement, the man got up and started praising God. Witnessing this incident, Pedro Arrupe cried loudly and praised God, proclaiming, ‘’now I believe and now I know what I need to do’ ’Pedro Arrupe destroyed the
scholarship then and there in front of the Blessed Sacrament and joined the seminary. He later became the superior general of the Jesuit congregation .This is how God works in our lives when we ardently desire his intervention.
Our Attachment to the World
Sometimes, even though we are Christians, we are too attached to world, to the people around us, to the authority, to the power, to the money…Because of all these attachments, we are blinded. We are satisfied with the nominal Christian life which offers a superficial comfort and protection. Is this spirituality enough to love Jesus completely?
Today The Lord is asking you, ‘’Do you really love Jesus?’’ Your answer might be a definite “YES”.
But do you practically love Jesus?
This is what Jesus asked Peter,” Do you really love me?” Peter replied, “Yes” .Again Jesus asked, “Do you love me?” Peter understood that the second question requires a deeper answer than a mere peripheral one which he is accustomed to giving. Peter repented and cried, and said, “Lord, you know everything, why should I tell you this?”
My dear brothers and sisters, you may shout from your rooftops, “I love Jesus, I follow him.” But Jesus knows everything about you. He knows whether you really love him or not. Let us examine our conscience over and over again, and ask our lord Jesus to help us love him practically, and completely.
May the Good Lord bless us all! Amen.