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Allow Love to Shape Us
Photo: Sister Anne Bertain and friend at Lima Center, a ministry of love at St. Dominic Church in San Francisco
“When Judas had left them, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and God will glorify him at once.
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
In this particular passage of John’s gospel, we witness a deeply existential moment for Jesus. Judas has left and Jesus knows that his Passion is set in motion. Jesus is fully aware of the sacrifice he must make, conscious that as he enters into that drama of the sacrifice, he will be ‘glorified’.
From ancient times the term glory described what heroes and martyrs received when they offered their lives for the sake of their community. To this day, we are amazed by such courage and by the enormity of the gift of their lives – the greatest gift any person can offer; and, in the giving of that gift – they are transformed – heroized – glorified – and made larger than life.
Jesus calls us to pay attention to this amazing process of God’s glory in the Passion, Death and Resurrection that is accomplished by God’s power, a power well beyond what any human could conceive of or exert. At the same time, we are called to share in that power and process – by remembering how Jesus the Christ has loved us – and let that love animate us to love similarly.
We may not be called to offer our lives as martyrs, but we are called to stretch ourselves in love. Each day presents us with many opportunities to reflect on this art of loving and on our own transformation as we love – whether through generosity, working on our relational skills, forgiveness, patience.
In our community and country, we have great challenges. How do we reduce polarization and bring respect and kindness back to dialogue? How do we create a society where we realize our well-being does depend on the well-being of our brothers and sisters? We tap into that amazing relationship of experiencing Christ’s love in prayer and community. It is important in our often hectic lives to set time aside to reflect on those experiences of love and allow them to shape us.
Sister Cathy Murray, OP