Tuesday, November 04, 2014

The Object of Your Affections

By Colleen O’Sullivan
One thing I ask of the Lord; this I seek:  To dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, that I may gaze on the loveliness of the Lord and contemplate his temple.  (Psalm 27:4)
Great crowds were traveling with Jesus, and he turned and addressed them, “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.  Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple…  In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”  (Luke 14:25-27, 33)
Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in Love in a quite absolute, final way.  With what are you are in love?  What seizes your imagination will affect everything.  It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.  Fall in Love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.  (Fall in Love, attributed to Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., 1907-1991)
Jesus certainly doesn’t mince words in today’s Gospel reading.  Hate your family, hate even your own life.  Carry your personal cross or don’t bother to tag along after me.  Renounce your possessions.  I tried, without much success, to imagine bringing a friend to Christ using these phrases!

But Jesus is being dramatic to make a point.  What he really wants isn’t for us to hate anyone or anything, but for us to love him, to love God, more than anything else.  He wants to be first in our hearts, to come before our most cherished family members, our most precious possessions, even our very selves. 

Most of us know what it’s like to fall in love, to have eyes and thoughts only for the object of our affections, to have that person be our whole world.  That’s what Jesus asks of us, that we, like the psalmist, wish for nothing more than to spend every moment of our lives with him, in loving adoration.

Take a few minutes today to consider the words of the prayer attributed to Fr. Arrupe.  What really is it that gets you out of bed in the morning?

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