11 November, Friday — Love as an action

2 Jn 4-9
Lk 17:26-37

Anyone who tries to preserve his life will lose it; and anyone who loses it will keep it safe.”

It has been a tough time recently, as I hear of many friends going through struggles with their health. It has been quite a challenge to hear them go through the various health problems and also the desire to seek all forms of treatment. One friend spent a small fortune seeking different opinions just to restore himself to a state of health. It was in the deepest of his suffering (at least that was what I felt) when I met him. Seeing him like that made me sad and I asked him, “Is there something bothering you in your life?” I was shocked to see the floodgates of tears open. It took me a while to realise that he has been going through some struggles in his life and that the stress was taking a toll on his health.

The readings of today remind us that we need to live according to a life of love. People often associate love as a concept, but I often remember the teaching of St Thomas Aquinas that to love is to will the good of the other. The health problems faced by my friend stemmed from a desire to will the ‘destruction’ of the other. He wished bad things upon the other person and it was consuming him; this manifested in the bad health that he was suffering. With gentle persuasion to try an alternate view, he decided to forgive the other party. It was not easy for him to do so; in fact, it took further introspection to discover why he was feeling this way. The first reading reminds us that “there are many deceivers in the world, refusing to admit that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.” This verse speaks to me a lot because the Incarnation is God’s tangible act of love to Man, his created being.

Original sin prevented us from entering Heaven, but God desired us to restore us to this original intention. The words of the Exsultet come to mind, “O felix culpa”, which can be translated to “O happy fault”. The fall of Man allowed us to see the love of God made tangible in the Incarnation. Jesus showed us that to love our neighbour means giving our entire being to the other party — to the point of bringing the good in the other person. Fridays are traditionally days of penance, as we reflect upon the love of God in our lives, and I would like to invite you to enter into a moment of reflection to ask Jesus to allow you to love wholeheartedly. For the areas where you feel reluctant to open up, I do ask you to consider speaking to a Spiritual Director with whom you can totally share your feelings, in the desire to walk closer to Jesus.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Chia)

Prayer: Jesus, I pray for the strength to show love to all around me.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all who provide Spiritual Direction.

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