"See how he loved him."
Had a recollection day yesterday on the love of Jesus, who desired and chose to be with people. From Tuesday evening to Wednesday afternoon, I read the Gospel of John from start to finish with an eye toward seeing how Jesus showed warmth toward the people, how he really wanted to be with them with the love of God. We also meditated on the San Damiano Cross, whose image of the Crucified spoke literally to Francis of Assisi and moved him to works of love to build up the Church and his sisters and brothers. Looking on the San Damiano Cross to Jesus and the figures in relationship with him, we see how God in Jesus loves others, loves us, sees our suffering, and loves us into relationship with each other.
This was a difficult day of recollection for me. It led me to look at some dim and ugly places inside of me where there is little or no light, little or no love.
Some of my reflections, after an examination of conscience:
See how Jesus loves. See how I do not love.
I could wish to love as Jesus loves, but I have not wished to love.
I pray, but I have not prayed, truly prayed, that I would love.
Jesus desires to be with people, and he actually chooses to be with people.
But I desire and choose to be alone.
If this is all I desire and all I choose, today and every day,
I will not desire Jesus and I will not choose Jesus.
I will be alone every day,
And when I die,
I will die into eternal death.
God desires to be with me, and God actually chooses to be with me,
But all too often I desire and choose to be alone,
And I go so far as to tell God to go away.
But God does not go away.
And God will not leave me alone.
I do not know if God likes me.
But God loves me.
The reason I leave people alone
Is because I want to be left alone.
But this is not life.
This is not love.
We need life; we need love.
We need to live with each other.
We need to love each other.
Because God is life; God is love.
God is "I AM here with you."
So I ask God:
Help me love the brothers.
Keep my likes and dislikes from being an obstacle to being with all the brothers, in God's love.
Do not allow my likes to turn into partiality.
Remove my dislikes, if possible.
Above all, increase my love.
Help me desire to be with the brothers.
Unharden my heart that is often cold.
Help me choose to be with the brothers.
Let the warmth you give me warm them, too.
Forgive my offenses against the brothers.
Above all, forgive my thoughts and words.
Forgive me for what I have failed to do for the brothers.
Let me desire as Jesus desires.
Let me choose as Jesus chooses.
Let me love as Jesus loves.
Let me see Jesus' love.
Let me see others, and love others, like Jesus.
Let me know and love God.
Finally, some words of reassurance from the formator who directed our recollection day:
God is at your side. This does not mean God is on your side, but God is always by your side.
Lean forward into Jesus. Have the confidence of the beloved disciple who leaned on Jesus' breast at the Last Supper.
Be at home in the presence of the Lord. Think of the sparrows or swallows making their nests in the rafters of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem.
Speak to the Lord Jesus. Do not merely talk about God in your prayer. Speak directly to the God whose Son sees you and loves you.