Everyone is called to love. Within the ordinary daily chores of our state in life we have continual opportunities to love: washing dishes, scrubbing floors and cleaning bathrooms; answering telephones, typing letters, stocking shelves, fixing cars or caring for the sick these are just some examples of how we show our love of God and neighbor every day.
Whatever your state in life may be, wherever God's will places you, you are called to love by doing the ordinary things of every day with extraordinary love. The prophet Hosea reminds us: “For it is love that I desire, not sacrifice” (Hos 6: 6).
Many times we become discouraged, even depressed, because we feel that we are incapable of love. Can I really love? Does God really love me? Does anyone love me? Wallowing in the swamp of guilt from past sin can cause a total loss of self-esteem. The example of Abraham provides for us a remedy for this dilemma.
Abraham believed, hoping against hope…. He did not doubt God's promise in unbelief; rather he was strengthened by faith and gave glory to God and was fully convinced that what he had promised he was also able to do (Romans 4:18; 20-21).
In order to love, we have to be humble. Abraham accepted his nothingness, his limitations and his sinfulness and gave himself totally to God. Through belief and hope he was able to live a life of faithful love and complete the mission that God had entrusted to him.
Matthew also is a good example. He was a social reject. The Jews of his time despised him because he was a tax collector for the Romans. Jesus entered into his life and said: “Follow me. And he got up and followed him” (Mt 9: 9). Through this encounter with the God of love, Matthew left his old way of life. He left his egotism, his pride, his vanity, his arrogance, his sensuality, his old way of thinking. He left everything and followed Jesus. His conversion allowed him to live a new way of life, the life that leads to eternal life.
Are you paralyzed by guilt, loss of self-esteem, discouragement and even depression? Then it is time to stop wallowing in self-pity and direct your gaze to the God of love and remember one essential truth: Jesus loves you!
Every time you go to the sacrament of Confession, a celebration of God's love and mercy takes place. Every time you receive the Eucharist, the God of love and mercy embraces you with His unconditional love, mercy and kindness. But only the humble can really experience this awesome God of love.
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do” (Mt 9: 13). From time to time we all get sick. When we are in need of medical attention, we go to our doctor. When we tell him our symptoms, the doctor can then bring us to good health.
But, if your head hurts constantly or you have frequent stomach pains and through stubbornness and pride you do not go to the doctor, you might find out later that you have some kind of terrible disease that could eventually kill you.
Our souls are in continual need of our spiritual doctor. The sacraments of the Eucharist and Confession are two sacraments that give us strength and vitality. When you go to the Lord in humility and sincerity, Jesus, the physician of your soul, heals you and health is restored.
If your soul is constantly hurting you; if you are unhappy, lacking interior peace and you can't sleep at night; if your pride and arrogance keep you from recognizing your sinfulness and going to Confession then you might discover that you are spiritually dead and in need of a conversion.
Which is the greater problem, to be physically dead or spiritually dead? Can we continue a life closed off to God and risk eternal condemnation?
Our spiritual lives will be a continual struggle. Once a conversion takes place and we are living as authentic disciples of the Lord Jesus, we must continue daily in this glorious battle for our eternal salvation. Daily prayer, daily Eucharist, the daily reading of the Scriptures and frequent Confession will sustain us in this battle.
This is the good news: Jesus loves you! Let us love Him more and more each day. Can I love? Does God love me? The answer is “yes.” Our Catholic religion is not about something, it is about Someone and that Someone is Jesus, the God of love who loves you unconditionally.
Father James Farfaglia is an Associate Pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and St. Helena of the True Cross of Jesus Catholic Churches. Originally from Ridgefield, CT, Father has founded and developed apostolates for the Catholic Church in Spain, Italy, Mexico, Canada and throughout the United States. He may be reached by e-mail at Icthus@GoCCN.org.