Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (this Sunday’s gospel: (John 14:15). So, we must prove our love for Jesus?!? No pressure!
Or, is Jesus saying something else? I would venture to say that, although love must translate into action, and this only occurs if we choose, more than proving our love, Jesus is inviting us to choose to participate in His love. And, this we do, in a special way, in loving one another.
In the previous chapter 13, Jesus gives the new commandment: “that you love one another”, to which one may understand Him to be referring here. This love with which we are to love one another is the divine love, the “charity” (to use a more traditional term) deposited in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. And thus, as St. Thomas Aquinas articulates in his treatise on charity, when we exercise this love, “created charity”, we participate in the life of the Holy Spirit, “uncreated charity.
If I may appeal to the saints (as I have been known to do!), our sisters and brothers in Christ, wise companions for the journey, to hear their insights regarding such love for one another: Dismiss all anger, and look a little into yourself. Remember that he of whom you are speaking is your brother, and, as he is in the way of salvation, God can make him a Saint, notwithstanding his present weaknesses. You may fall into the same faults or perhaps into a worse fault. But supposing that you remain upright, to whom are you indebted for it, if not to the pure mercy of God?
~St. Thomas of Villanova (+1555)
Be as gentle always as possible; and remember that you will catch more flies with a spoonful of honey than with a hundred barrels of vinegar. Such is the nature of the human mind; it rebels against severity, but gentleness renders it amenable to everything. A soft word appeases anger, as water extinguishes fire. No soul so ungrateful, but kindness can make it bear fruit.
~St. Francis of Sales (+1622)
Love the worst men, love in them the remains of faith which they still preserve, or, if they have lost it all, love the virtues of which they are bereft, love the sacred image they bear, love the Blood of Christ with which you believe them to have been redeemed.
~St. Ignatius Of Loyola (+1553)
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. ~Mother Teresa of Calcutta (+1997)
Yours in divine love,
From the desk of the Rector