Rejoice in Hope, for Love is Here

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Love.

They say it makes the world round, or go around. Either one is appropriate. Hasten, then, to open the scriptures and read with me in your preferred translation – in the case that my preferred version is unpalatable.

Let love be without dissimulation. Hating that which is evil, cleaving to that which is good.
Loving one another with the charity of brotherhood, with honour preventing one another.
In carefulness not slothful. In spirit fervent. Serving the Lord.
Rejoicing in hope. Patient in tribulation. Instant in prayer.
Communicating to the necessities of the saints. Pursuing hospitality.
Bless them that persecute you: bless, and curse not.
Rejoice with them that rejoice; weep with them that weep.
Being of one mind one towards another. Not minding high things, but consenting to the humble. Be not wise in your own conceits.
To no man rendering evil for evil. Providing good things, not only in the sight of God, but also in the sight of all men.
If it be possible, as much as is in you, have peace with all men.
Revenge not yourselves, my dearly beloved; but give place unto wrath, for it is written: Revenge is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.
But if thy enemy be hungry, give him to eat; if he thirst, give him to drink. For, doing this, thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head.
Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good.

Romans 12:9-21 (Douay Rheims)

Sometimes we find it hard to love. In childhood, we have all been in the hyperbolic sandbox playing with our mates, adverse to inviting another fellow to share our toys. Overcome with jealousy, often in innocence, another child will just simply take it and run off. We call this stealing, thievery, or perhaps we call it taxation. Either way, there is no doubt that a certain degree of animosity will grow between the two tots over the disorder. As a society, as Christians, we often think we have grown out of such greed by way of the good instruction of our parents. But this is a lie. It rather seems to be that we have honed our desire for the ‘other’, forming it into a deeply-set skill we use in life: at work, for promotion, in our prayers, in our quarrels dampening parish councils. You see, it is truly hard to love someone. We meet a partner, we fall in love, we get married. While this is natural and admirable, and absolutely so very rare in modern society, we still might struggle to define how our love for our spouse – and the children that naturally materialise from such a union – ought to translate into love for our neighbour.

But the Lord did not leave us dry, nor shall He ever. In scripture, we find a guide to life, given to us by God, and in Romans, St Paul explains how to love and what love is.

Let love be without dissimulation. Hating that which is evil, cleaving to that which is good.
Loving one another with the charity of brotherhood, with honour preventing one another.

Have you ever met a criminal? What did you do?

It could be anyone you know. Someone you know who enjoys pocket picking, someone you know who sells illegal drugs or works in prostitution. What do you do when you hear about the crimes he is committing, about the black ash he continues to cover his soul in? Just amble on in silence sharing a chuckle over the latest contravention of natural morality? This is dissimulation. Hiding the truth, denying someone reproach, what have you. If you want to love, know that it is our duty as Christians to instruct the sinful – not to scorn them, not to judge them, only to help them – and help them alone. Your help is your love, and this love is God’s love for you and for the other. We are to love one another with the charity of brotherhood. So why would we want a dear friend locked up when his freedom might possibly rely on our negligence to act?

In carefulness not slothful. In spirit fervent. Serving the Lord.
Rejoicing in hope. Patient in tribulation. Instant in prayer.
Communicating to the necessities of the saints. Pursuing hospitality.

What is the guilt of the modern world? We cover things up. We are so open-minded that our brains have fallen out, somewhere settled at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean probably devoured by some venomous species of dolphin. Listen to the pulpit: the church teaches what? Ah sure, go’won and get ya gay wedding sweetheart. Father Bob is fine with that. Have we to provide contraception to nuns? Oh alright sure. It’s only for the good. Pope Francis himself has even called the outside world’s push against the Church the “polite persecution.” If even one of the most questionable pontiffs in modern history admitting that Christians are being persecuted, how much more pathetic does it appear when presbyters and leaders in the Church ACCEPT this persecution by GIVING IN to demands of blasphemous progressive society. Look at the verse above. Is this love? Refusing to instruct the faithful, to be yellow in demeanour and as soft on truth as a 75-year-old crab apple. No, it isn’t, is it? To love is to serve the Lord. To rejoice in hope, in hope of salvation. We must wear the weight of the cross and fight the good fight against evil. Instant in prayer.  Praying for our brethren is the greatest act of love we can do for them. Communicating to the necessities of the saints? What does this mean? We need saints, in order to communicate to them. We can be saints. We can all be saints. Every saint has perfected himself in love because they pursued hospitality.

Bless them that persecute you: bless, and curse not.
Rejoice with them that rejoice; weep with them that weep.
Being of one mind one towards another. Not minding high things, but consenting to the humble. Be not wise in your own conceits.
To no man rendering evil for evil. Providing good things, not only in the sight of God, but also in the sight of all men.

This bit refers to solidarity. Forget comrades and titles, but true solidarity; we are called to be one in the Body of Christ. The message is clear when St Paul instructs us to bless those who hate us and return no similar action to them. Share in the joy of your fellow man, and cry with them when they need to mourn and weep. This all comes with instruction. But do not be mush. Remember that to week with them is to know their sufferings, and to rejoice with them means to rejoice over that which is good. Likewise, know that before God we are all loved; His children. He died for us, carrying the weight of each our sin on his back. He rose that we might live. He gave us His own Blessed Mother to be our mother. He has left us with the signs and sacraments, the devotions and deeds, to be with Him and His Blessed Mother, forever. We, all. And so, you also should not render someone harm who has harm you. St Paul instructs us quite clearly here! Only do GOOD. This isn’t controversial, rather, required for redemption.

If it be possible, as much as is in you, have peace with all men.
Revenge not yourselves, my dearly beloved; but give place unto wrath, for it is written: Revenge is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.
But if thy enemy be hungry, give him to eat; if he thirst, give him to drink. For, doing this, thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head.
Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good.

“Love one another as yourself.” This is the consummation of St Paul’s words. Would you chaos in your life all the time? Isn’t the modern church full enough of dissension and hate, caused by its root through the very tragedy she experienced in the mid 20th century? To me, these words cast light into the gaps this world has. We do not love anymore. We don’t truly love. We give in to sin, we float our own egos into the cosmos of media. Fallacy has replaced religion, fashion has become the new love. So we are here, bereft, left alone to push down the weeds and forge some new path in the wood during night with few stars. Love is the way, for, God is love. True love, is true love, and true love leads only to God.

Why, then, do you wander wide, poor child of earth, in your search after goods for body and soul? Love the One Good, in whom all good things are, and it is enough. For what do you love, O my flesh? What do you desire, O my soul? There it is, there it is: whatever you love, whatever you desire. – St Anselm

Ask yourself this, as none are spotless. Including, most certainly, yours truly.

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