Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thoughts on Love

It started back in July when I was on retreat. I walked into my meeting with Father and the first thing he said was, "Write this down: You must serve everyone with the love of Jesus." I should have walked out right then. This is NO small order, is it???

Out of obedience, I wrote it down. "Sure," I thought, "no problem". It seems to me, however, that God really meant for me to take notice of this statement. Ever since then I have been coming across this same message. I've heard it at Mass, I've read it in our formation group presentations, I've read about it on other people's blogs! I am starting to take notice.

A number of years ago I bought a book on the recommendation of some speaker at a homeschooling conference. The book, by Father Jean C. J. D'Elbee, is entitled "I Believe in Love. A Personal Retreat Based on the Teaching of St. Therese of Lisieux". When I tried to read it then, it truly was written in French. In the years that it has been sitting on my shelf, someone has come and translated it for me. It is a truly beautiful and profound book!

As I read and study this subject, I seem to be able to grasp it on a certain level. I can understand that, truly, it all comes down to Love - love of Jesus and love of neighbor. I understand the concept - I just have a huge problem putting it into practice.

I told my husband the other night that what I really need is a "How To" guide, kind of like "The Idiot's Guide to Loving Like Jesus". What I need is to have a situation described and then a response that tells me exactly how I am supposed to respond with the Love of Christ.

For example, if one should happen to get a nasty email sent to oneself from someone, I am sure that the proper loving response is not to breath fire and sit fuming at the computer typing an equally nasty response. But, what does it mean exactly to respond with the love of Christ in this example? Does it mean that I can brood about it for awhile and then say "It's okay, I'm over it and I still love that person". Am I allowed to brood for any time? Or am I immediately supposed to turn my sorrowing heart over to Jesus and beg Him to give me the grace of forgiveness? HMMM, I think it's the last one, however I have yet to be able to come close to accomplishing it.

I was going to come here earlier in the afternoon, but Ms. 10 yo suggested that we watch the movie, "Therese". (Coincidence? I think not :) I decided I should stay and watch it with them. What a beautiful example we have in St. Therese. What a gift God has given us. Through her intercession and her example (and a whole lot of grace), maybe I, too, can learn to love and serve others with the love of Christ!

Over time I'd like to pop in and share some of the nuggets I'm getting from this book. I'm only on page 50 and already I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in this topic.

Here's one for you to meditate on until I return:

"Love is the uniting of our will to the will of God. It is abandoning ourselves totally into His hands, as a habitual disposition, even if we feel nothing."