When Judas had left them, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and God will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. I give you a new commandment: love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13: 31-33a, 34-35)
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are here with me. I am privileged to have this private audience with you. Aware of my weakness, I hope in your mercy and love. I open my heart now to you, to the wisdom, mercy and good news of your Gospel, for through it you wish to guide me home to rest eternally with you in heaven. Thank you for your boundless love. Take my weak, poor love in return, as it is all I have to offer you.
Petition: Lord, help me to imitate you by accepting and forgiving others.
1. The Sign of True Discipleship Nowadays, words alone are empty; they need to be backed up by actions. All too often we have experienced that zealous politician or marketer who makes promises that we instinctively know are too good to be true. We want to believe the good they promise, but experience has taught us to have a healthy sense of skepticism. Unfortunately, this contemporary disbelief of “too good to be true” could also be said of Christianity. Christians are to be known by their love for one another. In my marriage, with my children, and in my social circle, am I known for my Christ-like love? In particular, am I capable of accepting others as they are, of seeing their way of being in a good light? Though I set high standards, do my spouse and children truly find rest, light and solace in my company?
2. The High Standard of Love The film “Love Story” had a classic line: “Love is never having to say you’re sorry.” As Christians, though, we are aware of our weak nature and tendency to sin. We need to ask pardon – frequently. More often than not, the souls we hurt are those closest to us: our spouse, a child, a parent or in-law.
The disciples, too, had their squabbles with each other. The love that bound them, exhorted them to make peace with one another as Christ makes peace with his Church: “Father forgive them for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). Is my love great enough to overlook the weaknesses of those who hurt me and turn my wounded ego to compassion and pardon? To err is human, but to forgive is divine.
3. Loving from the Heart Christ told his disciples, “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). This applies as well to harboring grudges in our hearts. Love goes beyond kind words and actions to the very heart of man: to our thoughts. Although it may initially cause distress to our will to think well of those who have hurt us, it is truly therapeutic! Our Lord said, “From the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, unchastity, theft, false witness, blasphemy” (Matthew 15:19). Likewise, a heart that actively looks for the good in others will form the habit of speaking well and acting kindly towards those who naturally are displeasing. Thinking well of others renews our faith in God’s mercy. If we are merciful, how much more we can expect Our Lord to be patient and merciful with us!
Conversation with Christ: My Jesus, your life is witness of love to me. You forgave your enemies and even prayed for them. My love is to mirror your love, but I realize I can love so much more than I have loved until now. Help me today to increase my love and let go of those remnants of egoism that hold me back from a Christ-like love.
Resolution: Today I will make a list of those souls immediately before me for whom I can do a hidden act of charity. I will pray for them, speak well of them, and look for a significant way to serve their needs as I would if they were Christ himself.