Engaging the Word: 10/26/14
Before presenting the final contemplation of the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius calls attention to two points:
The first is that love ought to manifest itself in deeds rather than in words. The second is that love consists in a mutual sharing of goods, for example, the lover gives and shares with the beloved what he or she possesses, or something of that which he or she has or is able to give; and vice versa, the beloved shares with the lover. Hence, if one has knowledge, he or she shares it with the one who does not possess it; and so also if one has honors, or riches. Thus, one always gives to the other.
The fundamental possession of each person is the love of God. Each one of us has been loved into being and has been graced with the freedom to respond to this circumstance. In sharing life and granting freedom God’s love includes perfect mercy. As free but limited creatures made in the image of God we can be tempted and fall victim to pride, which manifests itself as a failure to love as we have been loved, a failure to love with mercy, a failure to love with forgiveness.
The failure to love separates the creature who has been loved into being from the Creator. This separation from the Source of life diminishes life, and the creature experiences a living death and becoming distanced from others, with, as the reading this week from Exodus explains, his wife or her husband made a virtual widow and his or her children virtual orphans.
The Good News is that God’s love and mercy never fails. If we have fallen victim to pride and a failure to love, we can always choose to follow the Lord’s two most important pieces of advice: love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself. The beauty of these words is that they testify to our freedom and our capacity to love. If the love of God and neighbor were automatic the commandments would not need to be offered. Of course if love were automatic and not grounded in freedom, it really would not be love. So we are free and are able to receive and share love, and we find ourselves in a circumstance in which our loving Creator always offers us mercy, always offers the opportunity to return to love. Let us receive God’s love and mercy and share that same gift with our brothers and sisters.
1st Reading: Exodus 22: 20-26 ~ Responsorial: Psalm 18: 2-4, 47, 51
2nd Reading:1 Thessalonians 1: 5-10~ Gospel: Matthew 22: 34-40
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