Blog # 461 Love unites
The fundamental and basic truth of a genuine religious experience is the fact there is but one God, the Creator of all that is not God. In this truth we find our common origin and our common destiny. As human beings we share a common design even though we be as different from one another as a Greek from a Roman and a Saint from a sinner. Do you ever get hungry, happy, thirsty, tired, lonely. ill, joyful, healed, forgiven, disappointed, loved? So do I. And so do we all. We have been designed and called into being by the same Creator-God.
In all of this we are united. We are one in the truth we have a single Creator. Yet we can be separated from one another in various ways and in various degrees, physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually. If I am hungry thirsty or lonely and you do not know it or do not care then we are in this regard separated from one another. I may be in Texas and you in New York, separated from one another physically by many miles but united in our knowledge and love for one another as I celebrate your birthday in my mind and heart.
One of the main features of the ministry of Jesus, Emmanuel, God-Among-Us, was the proclamation of the design and desire of God that all people could and should be united in his love. What a vision of the world this truth invites us to create and to live! In the Christian world view there is but one Savior of all. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, in Jesus, through faith and Baptism, all are to be made one Vine, one Body. From the beginning the Church has been given the mandate to live this truth and to tell it in words and deeds to "all the world". ( Matt, 28: 18-20). How sad it is that Christians are still a minority of the world's population, and among ourselves we are divided rather than united in the total love of Jesus for the Father and for all people. (Jn. 17: 20,21).
My constant hope as a simple Christian believer and especially as a Glenmary Missioner is to find a way to get the attention of my fellow Christian believers and especially local Pastors who live around us and who control much of the human aspects of the Church's work on the local scene, and alert them to the seriousness of our division as a contradiction of the desire and prayer of Jesus that we all be one in Him. (Jn, 17: 20,21 again).
I can think of several items in our divided experience that do unite us part of the way to the unity for which Jesus prayed. We recognize a unity among us in our recognition of Jesus as Lord and God's Son. We are one in our praise and thanks to Him, in our effort to imitate Him in our obedience to the Commandments and in our recognition of the Gospels as an authentic story of His life. But the actual words we have cited do not call for a mere union of minds and actions. The union to which Jesus calls us is a union of a community, a single vine with many branches, a single Body with many members. Then He specifies the love which is to unite us is a share in His own divine love for all people. "Such as my love has been for you, so must your love be for one another." (Jn. 13: 34).
Jesus had already told the disciples there is no greater love anyone can have ( not even God!) than to lay down one's life for another. (Jn.15: 13). That is the love Jesus experienced in His loving death on the cross! That is the love He shared with the Apostles at the Last Supper and of which He said "do this in memory of me". That is the love we are offered and are called to share in our reception of the Lord's body "given up" and the Lord's blood "poured out" in the Sacrifice of the Mass.
To realize more perfectly the nature, power, and intended effects of the Eucharist we should be aware that its prime emphasis is not merely upon an "I-thou" relationship with Jesus but a personal relationshjp with Him in His love for the Father and for all of creation. In receiving Jesus in Holy Communion His thoughts become our thoughts, His desires ours. There is but one universal thirst in all the world, one hunger, one loneliness, one love to come to the aid of all in need. It is the love of the Father brought to earth in Jesus and shared in our communion with Him. lt tolerates no sin. It has power to draw all to a divine union in Jesus. It is the truth for which all people hunger and thirst whether they are aware of it or not. "...and I - once I am lifted up from earth- will draw all men to myself." (This statement indicated the sort of death He had to die."(Jn. 12:32,33).