Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus est...

I have learned a tremendous amount this semester.

Perhaps the most important thing is this, which I could have learned elsewhere but didn't. I came here to Franciscan University and learned it. Love, building on our faith in God and hope for Heaven and communion with Him forever, must precede all actions, and Christ conquered sin, death, and Satan through love.

We must give continually, always coming out of ourselves giving to others for the sake of God, remembering that God is Love.

If something is not going to lead to an increase in charity, and especially if it is an attack on one's neighbors by insult, deprecation, or other put-down, one should choose the "more excellent way" of charity as St. Paul shows us in 1 Corinthians. Showing restraint in a situation in which one is showing sinful anger or could be prone to it, ah. That shows the heroic way of the Lord. In our actions and speech we should always work to build up the Kingdom of Heaven.

I was thinking about the phrase, "What would Jesus do?" since my mom shared a graphic on Facebook (the one where you remind the questioner that flipping tables is a valid option). One should do what anyone would do in order to bring their humanity into contact with the Divine as moved by grace. The will of  God is directed by Love and Mercy. Love is not being nice and fluffy to everyone, and Mercy is not letting people off the hook. Love is an action towards what is good for them, more particularly towards God, towards what is good. Mercy is excessive justice, as God freely gives us more than what we sinners deserve.

Sometimes our actions rightfully approach table-flipping, or at least the situation presented lends itself to that. On the other hand, it might be just as worthy to ask, "What would Mary do?" Our Lady is a most excellent model for conforming to the Divine Will through her Fiat: Behold, the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to Thy word. Quietly working for righteousness in the face of overwhelming opposition or an overwhelming desire to take more aggressive, decisive, or powerful action is sometimes what's necessary.

We cannot love perfectly on earth nor can we judge perfectly. Charity is only perfected in Heaven and Our Lord explicitly reserves judgment for Himself. It is a tough going for us trying to deal with people who are sinners just like you and me. We need to give the fullness of the Truth for what they need at the moment and deal with the problems one at a time. That is the real meaning of meeting people where they are at, I think, for this is how God reconciled the world to Himself. He sent his Only-Begotten Son made flesh into the world to die for us in our frailty, to establish the new and eternal covenant for the forgiveness of sins.  (You know, if we didn't deal with problems one-by-one, continuous conversion would be kinda pointless.)

But we should strive to imitate the love of God. Especially since there is no greater Love than this, to lay down one's life for a friend.

At the end of this fall semester, we give Thee thanks Almighty God for all Thy benefits, Who livest and reignest forever and ever.

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