Blog # 352 Dangers to Love
It seems to me there are two dangers we should guard against when it comes to our experience of love of any kind, whether it be love for our parents, our family, our neighbor, our nation, ourselves, or our God. The first is the danger of taking our love for granted. The second is similar if not perhaps part of the first, that we do not keep ourselves aware of our love and consciously practice our love on a regular basis. The danger here, for example, would be illustrated in presuming your wife knows you love her because you told he that on the day you married her two years ago and again as recently as three weeks ago. If we applied that example to prayer and our love for God how do you think that would turn out?
We have to count our money from time to time in order to know how much we have, and we have to spend our money in order for it to fulfill its purpose for us. If we treated our money in the same way we sometimes treat our love, neither would be of very much use to us. One side of the coin is to know the value of money and what it can do. The other side of the coin is to put our money to work, to use it by way of investing it or spending it on something we need or desire.
Our Liturgical Year addresses both of these dangers. In our Liturgical Year, united through faith and Baptism to Jesus as members of His Body the Church, we celebrate the life death and Resurrection of Jesus. The celebration takes place when we gather for Mass as a community of faith and recall to mind the Gospel narratives and the response of the early Church to the claim Jesus made while He lived on earth as one of us about His identity as the Son of God and our Savior. This is comparable to counting our money. How much do we have? What did Jesus do? What did Jesus say? What did He say of Himself and of us? What happened to Him? Our emphasis here is on our memory.
Then we ask what should we do with our money, our faith, in response to the Resurrection of Jesus and to our share in the fruits of His Resurrection through Baptism. We all know the Gospel accounts of the life death and resurrection of Jesus very well. Knowing desiring and keeping ourselves aware of the effects these accounts can and should have on our lives currently is the problem. We can sort of take it for granted Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost will come again and the same stories will be read for us, and our lives will be about the same as ever. And the celebrations we have counted and watched like money we have counted but never spent will be of little use for us and could for the most part be identified as wasted.
The Resurrection of Jesus makes all the difference in the world for us. As St. Paul puts it, "If Jesus be not risen from the dead then is our faith in vain." (1 Cor, 15: 14). The Risen Christ is no longer limited and confined by the flesh assumed in the incarnation of the Word of God in Jesus. The Eucharistic Presence is the presence of the Risen Christ. In the Resurrection of Jesus our Baptism is born! Our emphasis here is on our experience.
All around us the rest of the world goes secular and Easter is almost all but forgotten until it occurs again next Spring. It should not be that way with us. Through the Scriptural readings designated to be proclaimed at each Mass, and through the effect these readings can have on our thoughts prayers and actions, the Church with Jesus as its Head hopes to help us grow in our awareness and experience of the meaning and power of the Lord's Resurrection.
There are some simple but significant questions we might ask of ourselves with regard to the Resurrection of Jesus and our Baptism. What is the call of Baptism in our life today? What are we entitled and called to say and do in Jesus' name, with His love alive within us?
Such questions as these could be the basis of significant growth in our relationship with the Lord, with one another, with the quality of our personal and communitarian holiness, and in guiding us in our fulfillment of the mandate Jesus gave as He ascended into Heaven, sending us with His authority and love within us to be evangelists toward our current secular culture.