Monday, July 11, 2011
Matthew 10:34-11:1 (Love not anyone more than Jesus)
Jesus says that if we love our parents or our children (or anyone else for that matter) more than Him, then we are not worthy of Him. If Jesus were not divine, this statement would be the height of egoism. But Jesus is God. He must be at the center of our life and our heart. If we love anyone more than Him, then our love is disordered at the very core. It can never be a blessing to ourselves or even to the one we say we love, for it is ultimately self-centered and self-serving. The bond formed by this kind of love is weak and easily broken by human weakness and failure. By contrast, when Jesus is at the center of our love, then all our relationships are strong with His strength for it is He who becomes the bond which unifies. One of the many paradoxes of the Christian life is that we love our family and friends better when we love them less than Jesus. The Poor Clare gives radical expression to this truth by her vow of enclosure. By this vow she separates herself from most physical contact with her loved ones. But she discovers that her love for them grows richer and more profound, not in spite of, but because of her enclosure. Being denied superficial contact, her infrequent encounters with her family and friends become occasions of a new and deeper level of relationship, free from the pursuit of self gratification which always prevents true intimacy. It takes time for this to happen, but it is a blessing worth waiting for. Today is the feast of St. Benedict who exhorted his followers “to prefer nothing to Christ”. When we do so, we find ourselves enjoying the sometimes unexpected hundredfold.