Love One Another As I Have Loved You
On May 6, 2010 the morning breviary prayers included a scripture reading from Chapter 8 of the Book of Romans, verses 10-11. It read: "If Christ is in you the body is dead because of sin while the spirit lives because of justice. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, then he who raised Jesus from the dead will bring your mortal bodies to life also, through his Spirit dwelling in you."
As we meditated on that scripture for a brief spell, it became linked in my heart to the Gospel of last Sunday where Jesus commanded us to "Love one another, as I have loved you," for without the Spirit, who we cannot see, active in our lives, we cannot love one another. On the contrary, we are more likely to love another one, instead.
This got more clear for me as we read the intercessions that form part of the Morning Prayer. One particular intention was: "Come to heal a world wounded by divisions, for you alone can transform our hearts and make them one."
If we believe as scripture tells us, and the Spirit that dwells in us confirms, that we are all one body, then those we easily love are no more important to God than those we do not so easily love.
This morning, before I left for morning prayer, I read an article by a Christian commenter about Michael Schiavo, the husband who allowed, well really lobbied hard for, his wife Terry Schiavo, to be dehydrated to her death a few years back, in a tragic case of euthanasia. I found as I read the comments to the article, that one particular commenter wanted to provide some balance to the discussion, and so spoke up for Mr. Schiavo in the midst of an article that had factually pilloried him, and comments that supported the put down of him. I found myself on the side of those who were against him, and did not even want to read the supportive comment. I felt uncomfortable about my own reaction, as I headed out to Church to meet my prayer partners.
When I arrived at the Chapel, I had a few minutes by myself before others arrived, and I felt called to pray the following: "Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in your love for Michael Schiavo," in the litany of praying it 10 times, followed by "Sacred Heart of Jesus, fill me with your blood," and then repeating it all 3 times.
Combining the urging I felt in my Spirit with the words that we prayed this morning, I came to the realization that Michael Schiavo is as much loved by God as you or I. He may be in a serious state of sin, as I might think, or he might not. That is between God and him, not me and him. I do not know the man, yet God knows the count of every hair on his head.
The original writer of the report was not really unfair in what she wrote. The problem was not in her, but in me. My initial reaction was to judge him, not to love him.
We human beings tend to look at things going on today, and look down the road at where they seem to be heading. Often we catastrophize them, and see the dark cloud on the horizon. In essence, we give root to a belief that we are "hurtling down a path to a foregone conclusion."
But, it is not so. Jesus prayed that we might all be one as He and the Father are one. And so, Jesus loves the Michael Schiavo's of the world, and for all who are dissatisfied with politicians, He loves President Obama of the USA, and Prime Minister Harper of Canada, and every other contentious world leader, as much as He loves each of us.
It is true that as Christians, we are called to stand against evil, and for the sanctity of life. But, so often we omit the strongest way that we have to combat evil, and that is to pray for those who we believe are committing evil. Of course, if we do pray for them, we pray for their conversion, or an end to the evil that we think they are complicit in, or leading the way in. In essence, we tell God what we want Him to do, rather than follow the words of Jesus, praying "not my will but Thine be done."
This is why I have changed my prayers for those I disagree with, or at least think I know enough to so do, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus litany I referenced above. I have been finding it efficacious for the benefit of the salvation and change of heart of those for whom I pray it, and particularly I have found the specific "Sacred Heart of Jesus, fill me with your blood," to be efficacious for my own salvation, and an antidote for my desire to come to judgment of those I think are bringing harm to our world.
Let us bring about the return of Jesus to earth by interceding for God's will to be done in all of mankind. Rather than telling God how to fix the world, let us trust in His love for everyone on this planet.