by Ken Rolheiser

Looking for gems and learning to love

Near the end of his life the evangelist St John was old and frail, living on Patmos, and having to be carried out for Mass every Sunday morning. People kept coming back, though his message was always the same: “Little children, God loves you. Love him and one another.”

When asked why he kept repeating these Gospel words, St John said, “Because that’s what the Master kept saying.”

I came across this gem in my morning readings in The Word Among Us – July/August. And the thought struck me, “I am looking for gems and listening for God’s Word in my morning scripture readings. In turn, I hope that my Pause for Reflection provides the occasional gem for my readers.

It just happened to be our wedding anniversary this day when I heard the above words. There was more. Pope Francis said, “It is not easy to entrust oneself to God’s mercy, because it is an abyss beyond comprehension. But we must!”

And Pope Francis poses this conversation with God:
“Oh Father, if you knew my life, you would not say that to me!”
“Why, what have you done?”
“Oh, I am a great sinner!”
“All the better! Go to Jesus: he likes you to tell him these things… He forgets, he kisses you, he embraces you, he simply says to you, neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
Pope Francis concludes, “That is the only advice he gives you.”

The following day the morning reflection from The Word Among Us posed the comparison between our evangelical mission and sending a message by post. We are empowered to speak as disciples only if we have the stamp of God’s Grace on our message.

Like the postage stamp, God’s stamp on the message will get it delivered. The challenge then is to prepare the best message possible and to live our lives to reflect God’s goodness. Then the message will lift people’s hearts.

How exciting that God would choose you and me to proclaim Good News. We are commissioned, sent forth with the power of his Grace. And we do this by loving others.

It strikes me that we are hesitant in spreading God’s love. We do not hesitate to say, “God loves you.” But how often do we say, “God loves you and I love you.” Would it not be uplifting to hear that a family member, your spouse, your neighbour, loves you?

God loves you. And I love you. Let us love him and love one another.

(427 words)