Saturday, September 27, 2014

Humbly Regard Others

By Rev.  Joe McCloskey, SJ

But if [the wicked] turns from the wickedness they did and do what is right and just, they save their lives; since they turned away from all the sins that they have committed, they shall surely live, they shall not die.  Ezekiel 18:27-28

Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others.  Philippians 2:3-4

“When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did.  Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him."  Matthew 21:32

Treating everyone as better than self is the challenge of grace.  Teresa of Avila met the challenge by saying to herself that “if you had the same graces as I, you would do twice as much.  If I had your graces I would do half what you do.”  The challenge is to have the same mind in us that Jesus had when he emptied himself out of his “God-ness” to be one of us.  The journey into fullness of life is giving all of yourself to the service of others.  It is a gradual awakening to the truth that perfect self-love is the love of others.  Selflessness is the discovery of who you really are by loving others with all that you are.  Christ loved us into his life.  We love God in our piety by loving all the Christ we can be by giving ourselves away even as Christ did.

Christ studied the prophets and discovered the plan of God for himself.  Human awareness takes and needs the appreciation of the love God has for us.  We are unable to deserve God’s love because he has first loved us.  God’s love is always waiting for us in his Son Jesus.  Even as the Scriptures made Jesus come alive to what the plan of God was for him, we learn what God wants from us in the ways Jesus comes alive to us in the Scriptures and in good people who live the gospel message in their lives.  Such people help us understand what St. Francis was trying to teach his young disciple when he said, “Preach always and occasionally use words.”  By the example of people who give their lives for the sake of others, we put into practice what Paul meant when he challenged us to be like Christ who emptied himself out of his “God-ness” to be one of us.  We find how we are meant to be spiritual people by how we put on the mind and the heart of Christ. 

Our actions need be what we say we are going to do.  We need to mean what we say and say what we mean.  The two sons of the gospel story are each half of the story of what our actions should be.  Christ has our hearts to live in from our baptisms and we have the responsibility to live his love by living up to his coming to make his home in our hearts.  We know that where there is love, God is there.  We need to make the love of God in us the energy of all our actions.  It is not enough for us to follow the footprints of Christ in the sands of life.  We must do our part to be his footprints wherever we go. 

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