In commenting on Jesus’ commandment to “to love one another as I have loved you,” St. Augustine says, “This is the kind of love that renews us. When we love as he loved us we become new men [women], heirs of the new covenant and singers of the new song.”
So, the lesson seems to be, if you want renewal in your life, love others as Jesus loves us. And, how does Jesus love us? By the greatest act of humility ever recorded, he became one of his created. Then, after teaching, modeling, encouraging, listening, healing and serving, he laid down his life for us. He characterizes the latter action as, “No one has greater love than this.” (John 15:13)
If someone were keeping score, I am sure I have had more failures than successes in loving according to this standard. Nevertheless, I am blessed with a loving family and other opportunities to love.
One such opportunity has involved taking communion to shut-ins. A few years ago, I had the privilege of taking communion to a lovely lady who was a 104 years young. What a delightful person she was and what a blessing it was to listen to her share about her outlook on life and the events transpiring over a century in time. Of her many gems of wisdom, my favorites were, “Love covers a lot of wrongs. I am not a perfect person, but God gives me a lot of love, so I love and that makes up for me not being perfect. I have found that it is easier to be happy than sad, and it’s also more fun. At my age, I think only nice thoughts.”
“Satan is always hanging around to cause us trouble, but I just tell him, “Satan, be gone! And he runs from me. He is very tricky. He tries to get us to do things we shouldn’t do, but I tell him, Satan you get out of here!” She added, “My husband wasn’t Catholic, but he always took me to church. He waited for me outside in the car reading the funny papers. I would be praying in church, Satan be gone. And you know what, my husband became a convert.”
“I had three wonderful brothers-in-law. Two were firemen in Washington, D. C. and one was a policeman. The two firemen were in dangerous situations. I would pray for them all the time. Once they were in a burning building on the second floor, and one started yelling, ‘Get out; get out!’ As soon as they got out the floor collapsed. God answers our prayers, and he protected them all the time they were firemen.”
In the weeks following these visits, my spirit was renewed. My prayer time and reading of scripture took on a new vibrancy. St. Augustine was right.
How do you overcome spiritual dryness?