Twenty-two pages of notes I have taken in the last few days while sitting at the feet of Fr. Jacques Philippe. This humble, profound mouthpiece of God has challenged me on my Lenten journey in so many ways.
“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. This is the
commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” 1 John 4:20-21
True and authentic must be the reality of our love for our neighbor. The concrete everyday love we have for others is the measure of our love for God. In order to love our neighbor truly, we must allow the love of God to dilate our hearts, enlarging them, since loving our neighbor is not easy. Loving requires patience, forgiveness, and mercy. Only by opening our hearts to the love of God the Father will we ever be able to love our neighbor. We must go to the source of all love, tenderness, mercy and generosity in order to love in the way that He loves.
Deep encounters into the Father’s intimacy--His secrecy-- is where we will receive the love that compels us to go out and love our neighbor. This, in turn, will drive us back to the Father for more love since we can never love as we should on our own. More than human efforts are required. We must have a profound love from the Father’s heart if we are to have a more profound love for one another.
This is not to discourage us. On the contrary, it is to encourage us because we know well that loving the way God loves is beyond anything we can do on our own...we simply must ask the Lord Himself to love all through us.
Clarence Enzler’s “Everyone’s Way of the Cross”:
Station VII: Jesus Falls Again
This seventh step, my other self,
is one that tests your will.
From this fall learn to persevere
in doing good.
The time will come
when all your efforts seem to fail
and you will think,
“I can’t go on.”
Then turn to me,
my heavy-laden one,
and I will give you rest.
Trust me and carry on.
Give me your courage, Lord.
When failure presses heavily on me
and I am desolate,
stretch out your hand
to lift me up.
I know I must not cease,
but persevere in doing good.
But help me, Lord.
Alone there’s nothing I can do.
With you, I can do anything you ask.
Station VI: Jesus Consoles the Women
How often had I longed to take
The children of Jerusalem
And gather them to me.
But they refused.
But now these women weep for me
And my heart mourns for them--
Mourns for their sorrows that will come.
I comfort those who seek to solace me.
How gentle can you be, my other self?
in your passion
is beyond compare.
Lord, teach me,
help me learn.
When I would snap at those
Who hurt me with their ridicule,
those who misunderstand,
or hinder me with some misguided helpfulness,
those who intrude upon my privacy--
then help me curb my tongue.
May gentleness become my cloak.
Lord, make me kind like you.
“I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” John 13:34
Dilate my heart. Fill me with yourself. Make me more like You.
I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.