Sat, 22 February 2020
O disciple of John
and shepherd who drank deeply
of the cup of Christ’s suffering,
you who bore both
the burden of a long life
and the pain of a violent death
yet remained faithful
till the end –
pray that the fire into which we are cast
we may also endure
as the sacrifice of Jesus
and so find it fruitful,
and so find it blessed…
and so rejoice in the witness
we are granted to give
in the name of our Savior.
May the offering of our lives
join with your own and all the saints’
in rising as holy incense
to the throne of God
and serve as witness,
to the eyes that behold us,
of the Lord’s great power and love.
Sat, 22 February 2020
(Lv.19:1-2,17-18; Ps.103:1-4,8,10,12-13; 1Cor.3:16-23; Mt.5:38-48)
“Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.”
In the Book of Leviticus God says, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” and this is good. But in the gospel Jesus adds, “Love your enemies” – and this is better. In the old law we are commanded, “Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people”; but in the new we hear, “Offer no resistance to anyone who is evil,” and even, “Pray for those who persecute you.” For now it is revealed that all are God’s children, and so all must be loved as brothers.
“Is this wise?” you say, to love our enemies. “Is this not foolishness?” Indeed the wisdom of the world would call it so, but we are called to “become a fool, so as to become wise” in the eyes of God. For what the Lord calls us to in this is no less than to be like Him, to become the very “temple of God” where “the Spirit of God dwells.” “Merciful and gracious is the Lord,” and so are we called to be. “Not according to our sins does He deal with us,” and so we should not deal with others according to theirs. Our “Father has compassion on His children,” and we must have the same for all.
Has any of you put the words of the Lord into practice? Has anyone sought to discover such love? If you have then you know the glory it holds, the glory of a love which surpasses all. And though justice is not wanting for those who reject it, His love cannot but be poured upon all.
O the happiness of the soul that receives such grace! Oh the joy of him who knows the blessing of such utter sacrifice! What greater blessing can there be than to “be perfect, just as [our] heavenly Father is perfect”? With David the soul alight with God’s love sings: “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all my being, bless His holy name.” With Mary the Mother of God our soul proclaims His greatness as we come to know “all His benefits” in the service of His love. And our transgressions are put far from us; and the Lord’s grace abounds within us – and like His Son do we become, who upon the cross forgave even those who nailed Him to this tree.
Brothers and sisters, no greater love will we ever find. It is this gift of holiness our Lord calls us to this day. Let us love as He.
Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.
Music: "True Love" from Loving Spirit, third album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.
O LORD, how shall we be holy as you are holy
if we do not love as you love?
YHWH, you have redeemed our lives from destruction; you have not judged us according to our sins but looked upon us with compassion, offering forgiveness for our crimes, for you are love and mercy itself. And you call us to be like you.
If we are to be your Temple, O LORD, if we are to reflect your glory, then we must go beyond the desire to strike those who strike us, to answer evil with evil. We must learn to listen to the blessed words of your Son and love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us… for only then will we come to know you, to be like you, who love us as we strike you repeatedly on the cheek, who ever open your arms to all your prodigal sons. We must transcend our own minds to find the surpassing grace and wisdom only you know.
Blessed be your holy NAME, O LORD! Let us be holy as you are holy! Let us heed the wisdom of your Son, who calls us to eternal love.