Sunday, November 30, 2014
At Every Moment, Do What Love Demands
The above words are on a stained glass window above a giant statue of the Divine Mercy, which dominates the entranceway to St. Anne’s Church, in Gilbert, Arizona. The words, directly above Jesus’ head, appear almost as a cartoon caption from His mouth. Divine Mercy: Love Demands. They seem to say somewhat co-equal things.
This week, visiting my nieces and their families, is bringing me great joy, yet even with them I feel some emptiness which only this adoration chapel I now sit in fulfills. I find joy and contentment here, even more than at the girls’ homes. I wish I were more part of their lives, and I know they wish the same, but here, in the adoration chapel is where I feel home.
The chapel at St. Anne’s has two large gold angels holding an ornate monstrance containing the Eucharist. I was reminded this week on various websites that the word Eucharist means thanksgiving. It is a most fitting reminder for me, for it is here that I feel most thankful, talking to the Lord, giving thanks for His many blessings.
As I exited the church I looked up and read the words again: “At Every Moment, Do What Love Demands.” They are almost haunting. I pause: How do I do that? What is love demanding? What is Your will for me right now, Lord, and how can I mesh that with Your will --- and my will --- for my future?
I recalled a prayer I recently read which spoke of my future, and how the command to love fits into it:
Deign, O Lord, to grant me the experience of true love, before You take me from this life, for it will be a great thing at the hour of my death to realize that I shall be judged by One whom I have loved above all things. I shall be able to meet you with security, certain that I shall not be going into a foreign land, but into my own country, for it belongs to the One whom I have loved so truly and who has loved me in return. --- Divine Intimacy, p1068
Doing what Love demands is doing what God demands. Doing what Love demands at every moment means that at the hour of our death we won’t “be going into a foreign land.” It will seem like home. I like that; that’s what I’d like my death to be like. But for now, I have to live my life, and live it well.
I was reminded of something else I recently read, in a book titled The Tremendous Lover, by M. Eugene Boylan. In it he describes the relationship of my life to Jesus’ life as being similar to a movie in which we both act. Jesus is the star of the movie, and the scenes of His life have already been acted out. The film of that is “in the can.” Now it is time for the scenes of my life to be acted out. I want to do my role well, the way it was written for me. I know that in the movie, The Life of Jesus, I am but a bit player, yet He is there Himself, every day on my set, urging me on, and cuing me when I forget my lines. And when I make a major mistake --- as I seem to do so often --- He yells: “Cut!! Stop!! Stop!!” And even if I am caught up in the role of my life, I can always seem to hear Him calling when I screw up. And that’s when I start to say “I’m sorry,” …… but He is quick to say: “That’s okay. Let’s try it again.”
And, forgiven, I start over.
I am only a bit player in His Life, but He sometimes acts as if I am the most important part of the movie!! And maybe in a way, I am: If I totally flub up my life, don’t act well enough in the role created uniquely for me, well then the entire movie “could” be ruined. The culmination of Jesus’ life, His death on the cross for me, won’t be nearly as wonderful a total story if my life, my role, makes it appear as if His death was in vain. It’s kind of like a movie in which the Good Guy fights all the bad guys and the dragons and then climbs the mountains and does all these terribly hard things, all to rescue the damsel in distress, but when He finally gets to where the damsel is, she says “Go away!” Good grief! If that happened you’d think the movie is a dud. The damsel’s bit part at the end of the movie would suddenly seem so very important. That’s kind of like our role in the Movie of Jesus’ Life also. We all play a bit part, but it’s important that we don’t screw it up.
That’s why Jesus says He will always be there with us. It’s why He urges us to stay focused, on His life and how we fit into it, not on our life. “Do not love the world,” He says (1Jn 2:15). But at every moment, do what Love, His Love, demands.
The perfection of His Life, the perfection of our life, they blend together. A perfect movie, a perfect plot, and a perfect ending: heaven together.
If only we can do our part: what Love demands.