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Do You Love Me?

February 26, AD2017

We tell God we love Him and adore Him. So, when we make this statement, we can ask ourselves, ” Do we really mean it or are we sending an empty message?” We need to ask ourselves if we heap up empty phrases like Jesus said not to do in Matthew 6:7. Do we mean what we are saying during prayer?

Praying with Heart

The prayers we have learned growing up in our faith are great but we must understand them and believe in them, not just repeat them just by rambling. God knows what’s in our hearts; if we just send say words with no real devotion, He will know. You can ask yourself honestly, ” When is the last time you have said the Our Father or the Hail Mary slowly going through each line, meditating on each phrase?” I know it took me awhile to realize this and not just saying a prayer at super speeds just because it was my penance coming out of the confessional.

I fell into the trap Jesus warns us about in in Mark 7:6-7 “He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.’”

Through prayers, we create a dialogue with God. So, communicating isn’t a one-way street; we have to also listen and be patient. There are various ways of praying, some with different steps, but always just remember to communicate with God.  People tend to even put in a request and/or complaint but also be considerate and also petition for others, I would recommend this first prior to anything. Giving thanks, praying for others and then petitions. It is important to take a moment to send up a prayer. We all tend to have time to send an email, text phone call; why not spend 1-5-minutes or so in prayer, to include an Our Father and Hail Mary as well?

As I told my Confirmation class, create a time management worksheet and calculate how many minutes you use. If we know there are 24 hours in a day and 1440 minutes in a day, how hard is a 1-5 minute prayer, daily?

Do You Love Me?

We can also see that we need to adore God, not just in prayer but in action as well. When Jesus appeared to the Apostles by the sea after the crucifixion, in John 21, Jesus asked Peter three times do you love me?

“Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”  He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” (John 21: 15-17)

Even though this can also be seen as a rebuttal of Peter who would deny Jesus after He was arrested, it is also about forgiveness, love and action. Jesus directed Peter to feed and tend His flock. We, too, can take these words as if they were directed to us. We can question our hearts if we have denied Jesus in any way.  By knowing God’s love, we must also serve Him.  

How then can we prove this to God and ourselves? First by not sending up worthless messages but with meaningful praise and devotions and by being the best you can be at being a parent, a child, a spouse, or a co-worker and friend.

We can also adopt better habits, like reading. Some like to read and others like myself not so much. I knew sometimes when I read I just go through the motions. After reading a paragraph or a page I ask myself what did I just read so then would have to re-read it. In our busy days, our minds get distracted and can wander off. I find it easier to retain what I read in the morning after I wake up or before I go to bed.  Maybe we can apply this process to praying; in the morning we can start our busy day with our minds (hopefully) calm and clear. Giving thanks and sending out our petitions could help start the day or help assist in closing our day before bed.  St. Paul spoke about this habit to the Philippians.  

Matthew Kelly, from Dynamic Catholic, states, “our lives change when our habits change.”  We all have good and bad habits. I know I have a bad habit of not being disciplined enough to stick to a healthier diet or keeping a better workout regimen. We should try to make better habits because we have been made in the image and likeness of God. As St. Paul stated in Corinthians, “we are a temple of the Holy Spirit” we should take care of our physical selves but also our spiritual selves out of reverence for the Lord as well.

If we take care of our physical selves through maintaining a healthy lifestyle, what can we do about our spiritual growth? Some of us already have good habits of prayer and charity towards others, but there are some that may not. I know I found this habit to be helpful, incorporating what Matthew Kelly stated, with an idea of what Fr. Larry Richards said. He states, “No Bible no breakfast, No Bible to bed.” You begin the day with the word of God and you end your day with the word of God. With discipline, I had to make myself do it for the first several days to conduct this new habit, it is now part of my day. Of course, by reading a Bible verse doesn’t mean you have to read several chapters daily, but just a single verse and meditate on it throughout the day, for example, you could start with Isaiah 45:18. Then before bed, you could rest your mind on another verse 1 John 4:19.

Either way, we need to ensure that we are understanding our intent when we give praise and requests. Like the saying goes, God first, others second and ourselves last. Even though we all have busy lives, we still need to take some time out of our day and just relax bring what is important back into focus.

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Brandon Schild is currently in the U.S. Army stationed in South Korea. He is a Military Policeman and has been a Squad Leader, Desk Sergeant and U.S. Army Recruiter. He was stationed at Ft Myer, Virgina; Yongsan, Seoul, South Korea; Sand Springs, Oklahoma and Ft Riley, KS. He is working towards his Master’s Degree in Human Resources and has obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. He has been a Catholic his entire life but had fallen away from the Church. He came back to the Church and went through the RCIA program to become familiar with the faith once again. He also was chosen to help teach Confirmation classes on Ft Riley for two years up until he departed the area. He is married and has one son. When Brandon isn’t busy working or studying, he likes to spend time with his family and write stories for pleasure.

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