Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Reflection #4: Wednesday

Korean Martyrs: Andrew Kim, et. al.
20 September 2006

I Cor 12: 31-13: 13

The Holy Father, Pope Benedict, surprised many people when he wrote his first encyclical on the meaning of love. He took the title from the First Letter of Saint John: Deus Caritas Est, “God is Love.” The mystery of love is at the center of our lives as Catholic Christians. For God, love is not simply something He does; He is Love itself. We, who are made in the very image and likeness of God, are called to follow the great commandment: to love God with all our hearts, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. To love is an essential part of what it means to be human, to be a creature of our loving God.
Today’s reading from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians gives us an opportunity to reflect on the mystery of love. Saint Paul teaches us three great truths about love, which help us to understand how we are to live as followers of Jesus, whose love for us knows no limits.
First, it does not matter what we do, how talented we are, or even how well we live out the demands of our faith, if loving is not at the heart of our living. If we do not love those with whom we live and work, if we do not love what we do, than we are a “clashing gong,” as Saint Paul describes. We can even preach the truth, and even be 1000% right, but unless we love those to whom we speak, all our preaching is in vain. I recall the words of Saint Augustine, “Give nothing of truth without love, and nothing of love without truth.” In witnessing to the Gospel of Christ, love and truth go hand-in-hand.
Secondly, love means taking ourselves out of the picture. Love is not jealous, rude, inflated, or self-seeking. Love means doing whatever is good for the ones we love, and giving of ourselves for the glory of God and the good of others. It means remembering that life is not always about us.
Third, no matter what, though everything else may pass away, love remains constant. Through the trials and difficulties of life, through loss and suffering, the love of God for each one of us will never fail. The love of family and friends sustains us. And the invisible bond of love we share with our brothers and sisters who, though scattered throughout the world, are united as one body in Christ, strengthens us. The prayers of Christians for each other is a powerful sign of the love we share, a love that transcends time and space, and reaches the hearts of people we cannot see. Though we cannot be present with them physically, we can connect with them in an even deeper, spiritual, way through prayer. Together, as a family of faith, we stand strong in professing what we believe and in bringing the love and truth of Christ to the world.
Today, the Church celebrates the Memorial of the Korean Martyrs, men and women who died professing their love for Jesus. Though we live in the United States, where the persecution they endured does not threaten us in the same way, this feast keeps us in touch with the universal Church and reminds us of what others have suffered for the sake of the Gospel. The Church is more than our parish, our diocese. The very word catholic means “universal.”
This feast also reminds us that the ultimate sacrifice of the martyrs was rewarded in heaven.
Being a Christian is demanding. May we have their courage to love even until death. If we empty ourselves in love for Christ, and for those in need in the world around us, our love will conquer. Love will not fail!

1 comment:

Denise said...

Deacon Matthew,
Pete heard you on the Living Bread Radio broadcast today, around 4:40 pm.

He just wanted you to know,
blessings,
Denise