Thursday, June 02, 2016

THE GREATEST COMMANDMENTS

Too many people think religion consists
in what they do for God–
those poor, puny, pitiful things
they sometimes manage to do for Him.
Consequently, they find all of religion
poor, puny and pitiful
and they trudge along joylessly…
But religion consists
in what God does for us–
those great, stupendous things
He dreams up for us.
~Louis Evely

~*~
" .... they trudge along joylessly ...". Where is our joy?

When we go through life, and has happened to everyone, something slaps us down and it is so great that we sometimes lose our joy. How can we find our joy again? We can begin with today's Gospel:
Mark 12:28-34
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this:
Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone!You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,with all your soul, with all your mind, 
and with all your strength.The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”

The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.And to love him with all your heart,with all your understanding,with all your strength,and to love your neighbor as yourselfis worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
Life has dealt me many, many hurtful things and people. Before I knew our Lord, I only knew to go with my feelings which was to cry, cry, cry over what and whom had hurt me. Eventually, time does take care of things and I would improve in my mood, but I could not let go of the hurt and the individual(s) involved. Consequently, I've lived without Joy, and I've filled enough garbage cans with my sadness to supply my entire city!

I had no real joy. Oh, I thought that I was happy, but deep down, the hurt from the past kept me pushed down.

When I accepted Jesus and the Father and Holy Spirit into my life, it was a slow process. I said to myself, "okay, I'll try this and see what happens." This was full of skepticism, and Jesus knew it. He knew he had a lot of work to do with me. But I woke up one day and realized "He has always been with me; it is I who did not realize it." How can Jesus love a sinner so much? It puzzled me. But all it took was the memory of some very dangerous things that I faced from which, I knew, He had saved me from myself. I realized he had been with me all along.

I am a Catholic convert and I've heard, "oh, they're the worst" about preaching their newfound faith. Well, so what? Are we not to spread the good news of the Lord everywhere we go?

I am secure that I have embraced (tightly) the first commandment. I love the Lord God above everything! But it took some time to "love my neighbor" as I love myself. After years of nurturing my faith, this commandment became second nature. I often say "Just BE NICE!" It is difficult to tolerate those who are misguided and angry. I see that they have lost their Joy. It doesn't take much for you to just be nice and say happy things to them, like "have a blessed day" or "God bless you". Yes, I've seen the gamut of expressions that run over someone's face when they face such a happy person. Some (but very few) are rendered speechless. But many, more than I ever dreamed, respond in kind and my heart soars. I immediately love them!

We are all creations of God, and when we love our neighbor as we love ourselves, we are loving what God hath created. To not follow this commandment is to, figuratively, slap God's hand. If we are loving our neighbors as we love ourselves, we are also keeping the First Commandment! Do you see what I mean?

I am not perfect, and I am a sinner. But I know that Jesus is big on second chances, and thirds, and more - however many it takes. He is always forgiving toward a contrite heart. He is not going to abandon you because you belong to him first, and he will shepherd all of his flock and take them to heaven to live with him for all eternity.

God HAS done miraculous things for me, and I can only speak for myself. But through these things and with time, I finally reached the higher ground where there is constant love that I know will never leave me. What Grace!!
O My Jesus, I consecrate myself to you, heart, mind, body and soul. Please help create a docile spirit in me to follow your commands. When you come into my heart, the whole world comes with you. You have loved completely, even unto your death on the cross. I offer you my heart, Jesus, for you ARE LOVE, and I choose you as the bridegroom of my soul.
Set aside time for God today. And love your neighbor in thought, word and deed!

Lovingly in Christ,
ABBEY  

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