Monday, June 18, 2007

The obedience asked by Jesus was to love and go on loving

> I was reading Sister Gloriamarie's offering for the 3rd Sunday after
> Pentecost and came across this:
> "God graciously blesses His servants, but He gives all good things
> contingent upon our obedience."
> I wonder how you react to this? Out of context, it doesn't work for me.
> However, I note that the author goes on:
> "Yes, it is true, the Lord blesses the good and the evil, the just and
> the unjust (Mt. 5:45). However, He particularly blesses those who obeyHis
> commandments."
> The writer is commenting on a reading from Deuteronomy with regard to
> Israel.
> It seems to me that the obedience asked by Jesus was to love and go on
> loving.
> Just wondering what you think?

Yesterday's daily meditation sparked the above comment:

My first thought is what specifically is mean by "the obedience asked by Jesus was to love and go on loving."? I ask this because I live in the USA and a lot of people think they are being loving if they experience the warm fuzzies.

To love and to be loving has to have a shape, I think. Jesus tells us that all the Law and the prophets can be summed up in what we now call the 2 Great Commandments: loving God with everything we are and have and loving our neighbors as ourselves. But what does that look like? Evelyn Underhill tells us that love of God is genuine only when it overflows the bounds of our bodies, flows from our pores onto other people. The truest mystic is one who is out and about doing what needs to be done.

The author of the piece quoted above is writing about orthopraxy, right practice, something we don't hear too much about in our post-modern emphasis on love and loving. Once upon a time, orthdoxy and orthopraxy were so intertwined you couldn't have one without the other. Right belief led to right practice, i.e. lifestyle and right practice demonstrated a solid understanding of right belief. Here in the USA, I get the sense that such a way of thinking is viewed as sterile, works for the sake of works.

My own thought is that we have a trinity: love and loving, right belief, right practice. All intertwined and interconnected so that it is really not possible to say where one starts and the other ends. Three concepts; one reality. I think this is what Jesus speaks of and about which Paul wrote. As i see it, in any relationship of love there are those thoughts, words and deeds which can either decrease or increase the love between God and a person, between a person and other people. So it seems to me that we can't separate loving rightly from believing rightly from living rightly. If we truly love God with everything we are and if we truly love our neighbor as ourselves, if we really believe this with all of our being, then love and loving will compel us, without giving it even much thought, to act for the greater good.

Please see the quote in my sig for a much better way to express all this.
May the Holy Spirit dance in our hearts!

Sister Gloriamarie Amalfitano, S/FC

Daily Meditations:

LET US BEGIN TO SEE BEYOND race, beyond culture, beyond gender, beyond sexual orientation, beyond religion, beyond, beyond all these externals and see each other as God’s beloved. When we relate to others as God relates to us, our sense of being God’s beloved deepens even more.

From page 25 of The Way of Transforming Discipleship by Trevor Hudson and Stephen D. Bryant. Copyright © 2005 by Upper Room Books.

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