Sunday, December 5, 2010

Remain in Me

“If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.” John 15: 10

I think we sometimes have a hard time understanding the love of God for us. I think we sometimes think that God loves us the way others love us or the way we love others. But the reality is that God loves us unconditionally—that is, without any conditions or expectations or caveats. Practically, what this means is that He does not love us more when we are doing good and He does not love us less when we are doing bad.

So in light of this understanding about His love for us, how is it that we cannot remain in His love as implied by the Scripture from John above? Well, a relationship of love is based on freely choosing the other and it is a two-way street. While God always loves us and will never stop, no matter what we do, the fact is that we do not always love Him back. And if we decide to choose not to be in a relationship of love with Him, then while He still loves us, we do not remain in the love. We choose to remove ourselves from that relationship.

How does one do this? By living in disobedience to the commandments of God. Let’s remember that God is still God and He has given us commandments, not suggestions. And even though we have free will to follow His commands or not, there are also consequences for choosing not to follow His commandments. And principal among these consequences, is the weakening of our relationship with Him (venial sin) or the breaking of our relationship with Him (mortal sin). How do we know what is sin and what is not? Follow the teachings of the Church. Plain and simple.

We so often think that when we sin, God stays away from us, but the reality is that when we sin, WE move away from God. The Good News is that no matter how far we move away from God in sin, He is always one step behind us, chasing us and calling out to us. He is always running after us, searching for us, ready to welcome us back with the open arms of His unending mercy. Satan tries to convince us in our sin that we are worthless and that God could never want us or love us. But at every turn, Christ remains unconditionally in love with you and me. Let’s pray that we do not receive this love in vain and that we will desire to always love Christ back in gratitude for the unconditional love He always shows us.

Dear Jesus, I love You and I always want to remain in a relationship with You. Please give me the grace to always desire You above all things. Amen.

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