Audio Readings March 13, 2015 3rd Week of Lent

Hosea 14:2-10
Psalm 81:6-11, 14, 17

Mark 12:28-34

3rd Week of Lent

Love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:31)

In his work with individuals at a L’Arche community, Fr. Henri Nouwen described his growing awareness of two kinds of love. The second love, or human love, he said, is but a reflection of the first love, which comes from God. God’s love has no shadows. It has no conditions, and we need not fear his rejection.

Clearly, in loving us, our Father has set a very high bar for himself—as high as the heavens! Yet today’s Gospel reading reminds us that the bar for our human love is set pretty high, too. Love your neighbor. Period. No qualifications. Just love. Will our love be perfect? Probably not. Fulfilling the call to love is—and always will be—an ongoing challenge. So rather than expecting yourself to do it perfectly from Day One, try a more gradual approach.

Here’s one suggestion. Take a piece of paper, and make a chart with three columns. In one column, write all the words that you associate with God’s love for you: kind, faithful, merciful, compassionate, and so on. In the second column, write all the things that love does: it protects, comforts, disciplines, hopes, rejoices. Then, in the third column, write down the names of saints or people in Scripture who have demonstrated these characteristics.

Now, pick a saint on your list, and try to find out how he or she came to demonstrate a certain aspect of God’s love. Pick an aspect that you most want to work on in your own life, something that can use a little help. Find a book about this person, or do an online search for stories and articles. You’ll most likely discover that this person wasn’t born perfect. It probably took many years for him or her to learn how to be so generous, humble, compassionate, or whatever other virtue you are looking at.

Next, as you discover this saint’s path, try to find points of contact with your life. How can you imitate him or her as you try to become more loving? Think of one small change you can make over the next week or two, and write it out. Make it your aim to grow in this “second love,” so that you can more fully reflect the “first love,” which comes from Almighty God.

“Lord, help me to love my neighbor as you love me.”~WAU

 

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About gemdk

I am a cradle Catholic who made my first Holy Communion over 5o years ago at All Saints Catholic Church in Houston,TX in 1961. Went to Mass every Sunday as a child and teen and then young adult. Fell away for about 12 years in the late 80's, early 90's and then realized what was missing in my life was my Catholic upbringing and faith. Found my home at Sacred Heart in Crosby. Filling up the void I had for those 12 years in more ways than I can imagine, loving every minute of it. But this blog is not about me as much as it is for me and anyone who wants/needs to hear the word of God. I'm merely the instrument God uses to post the readings.
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