I seek to live it, but do I believe it?
The redemption is the work of love. I loved in the face of hatred. I loved in the face of death. I loved even in the netherworld, where the just of the ages awaited My coming among them. It is by love that I vanquished hell, by love that I triumphed over death, by love that I undid what Satan, in his envy, had plotted against the creatures whom I so love and whom My Father destined for the praise of His glory.1
A Benedictine Monk. In Sinu Jesu: When Heart Speaks to Heart
--The Journal of a Priest at Prayer (p. 135). Angelico Press. Kindle Edition.
The older I get, I find two divergent roads that seem to exist together but seeking to go down different paths. I believe that part of the human journey is dealing with perhaps more than one path, hence our inner conflict. Sometimes some of our hidden desires, or beliefs may be hidden, so on the surface, we may say we believe one set of propositions, yet in the unconscious, there is another aspect of our journey that is also growing and can be the root of many of our inner conflicts. That is why it is good to pay attention to our inner thoughts, daydreams, nightly dreams (if we can remember them), and yes slips of the tongue. Also in prayer, what comes up as what is commonly called a 'distraction' can be something important to pray about as well as to look into.
The more deeply I feel that I am rooted in my faith, the more my inner tussles come to light. Love and hate, faith, and doubt, dealing with ingrained prejudices, I believe are part of everyone’s life. This inner fragmentation can become brought to the light of day when we strive to make a conscious effort to live our lives in a certain way. I am of course speaking about living out of my faith.
Deep healing, and the concept of purification dance arm in arm. For instance, once a man or woman decides to give themselves to another through marriage, and the vows mean something to them, is a sure-fire set up for a road, more or less difficult and even wearisome of dealing with ingrained selfishness, or self-centeredness. We learn that the loved one needs to be understood, listened to. Faithfulness is an absolute necessity. So in order to be true too, one's beloved, chastity according to the state of marriage is central. It is the path to healing and growing in holiness.
I am aware that the deeper I go into my relationship with Christ Jesus, the more these other areas are more clearly seen. So, all my life I have sought to become a loving human being. The deeper I go into this mystery, the more I see what is in me that is working against this desire. I am not overplaying that statement. As I age, the slightest failure in this regard is seen for what it is, a transgression against the call to love all, as I love myself.
Yet, how do I love myself? Without self-knowledge, true love of self is impossible. I can only learn to love myself when at my worst I refuse to denigrate myself. It is my faith that tells me of the love that God has for me, as shown in the life of Jesus Christ. My failures come because this life is about learning to love, myself, as well as others, and to understand that the love of God is always “Yes”.
God is not the problem we are, or I am. Yet I am loved by God, as are all men and women. I do not know my deepest self, only God sees that, and I am at peace because of the revelation of the love of God, which is beyond all human comprehension or experience. Yet Jesus shows us this love, the love of the Father, of which Jesus is one, and the Holy Spirit, which is the personal love of the Father and the Son, and freely given to all.
So I live my faith, even if I doubt, or wonder, how such a thing could be true. Surely it is too good to be true? I also know that the longing of the human heart is for that very love that Jesus has manifested to us. It is a seed planted there because all human beings are made in the image and likeness of God. This reality is usually given some sort of token belief, but to live it out, surely takes a deep death to self, the crazy self, that continues to create ancient cycles of pain, destruction, and despair.
The true path that Jesus taught cannot be ivied out by governments, or social programs (as good and needed as they are) but only by people who profess their faith and live it out.
All prayer is good, all people who seek God, truth, and desire to become more loving will find what they are looking for. For when we seek the truth, we are responding to the Holy Spirit, the very love of the Father for the Son…..three in one, coequal.—Br.MD