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Loving Jesus: The Ultimate Blessing

November 10, AD2015

Pixabay_SacredHeartJesus

There is no doubt that Jesus loves each one of us with an everlasting love. The question is whether or not we love Jesus in return.  We might think or say that we do, but then, do our day-to-day lives reflect these words, or are we just paying Him lip service?  Are we lukewarm toward Him, at the same time that we are on-fire for our jobs, our entertainment, or our vices?

What is Love?

So what is love?  Is it a gooey, feel-good emotion? Is it a sexual urge?  Is it wanting someone for what they can do for us? No, it is none of those things. Love is wanting the absolute best for someone, no matter the personal sacrifices we have to make in order to achieve that greater good. Jesus Himself showed us what true love is, by sacrificing Himself on the cross for us, even though it was our sins that placed Him on that cross. To love someone is to imitate Christ, the epitome of true love.

Jesus left us two great commandments, in Matthew 22:36-40:

  1. You shall love the Lord thy God with your whole heart, soul, and mind;
  2. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

These commands of God seem pretty straightforward, but in reality, do we even tell God on a daily basis that we love him?  Do we really love our neighbor, or do we just ignore them and/or just put up with them?  And notice that love, rather than faith, is foremost in these two great commandments. Those who believe that we are saved by “faith alone” might want to ponder this biblical reality.

The Bible Speaks About Love

The Bible has much to say about love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 tells us:

”So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

Here St. Paul says that love is the most important virtue of three very important, everlasting qualities, along with faith and hope. It would seem once again, that “faith alone” is not enough to save us.  Faith is certainly important, but it is only one leg of a three legged stool.  Without the other two legs of hope and love, we all fall flat. Faith is a gift from God; our love for God and love for our neighbor in return for this gift are our responses.

Love can even get our sins forgiven. Luke 7:47:

“So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” 

Here the adulterous woman showers Jesus with her love, and so Jesus forgave her sins.  This should be a great lesson for us all; that is, loving Christ with our whole heart does lead to our forgiveness. This is why it is so important for us to take time out of our busy day to tell Christ that we love Him. That should be the very least thing that we do.  And since Christ said in Matthew 25: 40

“Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me,”

then we should also start being kind to the less fortunate who beg us for money, time, or food, because we are not only doing it for Christ, we are doing it to Christ.

In John 15:9-12, Jesus says the following:

“As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. 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. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.”

Here we learn the astounding fact that Jesus loves us as much as the Father loves Him.  That ought to shake each and every one of us out of our slumbering Christianity and alert us to the depth of love Jesus has for us, no matter what our sinful state in life.  Why?  Because the Father loves His Son Jesus with an INFINITE love, and that is how much Jesus loves us.  And all we have to do to remain in His everlasting love is to keep His commandments and to love one another. This may be hard to do at times, but what a payback (everlasting joy in heaven).  Infinite love for us from the creator of the universe is something that is hard to fathom, but that fact should make us happier than we’ve ever been. What could possibly be better than being loved without limits by the same Creator who created everything from nothing?

St. Paul says in Romans 13:10:

“Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.”

What could be plainer than this?  To fulfill the New Covenant law isn’t some courtroom declaration of a stern judge who carefully weighs the evidence for and against us. Instead, we learn from God-breathed scripture that love itself is the fulfillment of the law. Love and law may seem to be two very different things in our minds, but here, scripture links the two together forever.  They are not opposed to each other, but instead are in unison with the Will of God in our lives. To love is to fulfill the law of God.

Paul has a great soliloquy about love in 1 Corinthians 13:1-7:

“If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 

What St. Paul is telling us is that love is more important in our relationship with God and our neighbor than anything else. Love conquers our frail human nature. It conquers Satan. It conquers sin. It conquers hate. It can even conquer the world. Love is what will get us into heaven one day.  Our inability to love (a sin of “omission”) should be confessed regularly, if that is one of our faults. What St. Paul is saying echoes St. James, who tells us in James 2:26 that “faith without works is dead,” by saying in essence that faith without love is dead.

The Last Shall Be First

It’s always hard to think that Jesus could love us with all of our sinfulness, but if one takes a look at Holy Scripture, the sinful tax collector who repented and who was truly sorry for his sins was chosen by God over the proud, self-righteous “sin-free” Pharisee. The adulterous woman who Jesus saved from stoning was also loved by Jesus, because she also repented with a contrite heart.  The good thief on the cross, who was probably a murderer (due to the sentence of crucifixion), was also saved in spite of his sins, because of his repentant heart. St. Peter, even though he denied Christ three times, also learned that Jesus loved him infinitely, after he repented. Jesus asked Peter three times by a charcoal fire if he loved Him. This was because Peter had denied Christ three times, beside another charcoal fire, the night before the crucifixion. Even Judas could have been saved if he would have asked Jesus to forgive him, but he committed the sin of despair instead, and then hung himself.

God knows that our brokenness is caused by our sinful human nature and He is just waiting to be asked to fix it. Jesus loves repentant sinners who tell him that they are truly sorry, and who really depend on Him for everything (God is close to the humble and contrite heart).  The self-reliant worldly people who never depend on God, like the proud Esau and the arrogant Nimrod in the Old Testament, always seem to be at odds with Him. Our relationship with God should be like a small child who comes up to his parent with complete trust, and who asks for his bike to be fixed, or her doll to be repaired. A good father always loves it when his child needs his help, especially if he or she is in tears about something. Just so, God is our loving Father, just waiting to be asked to fix our broken lives, if we only ask him with a contrite heart. Jesus even says that unless we become like a little child, we will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Practical Things to Do

So what are some practical things to do to overcome our human nature and to start loving, so that we can start living God’s commands?  Specific prayers can overcome whatever is blocking us from loving wholeheartedly. Usually, one or more of the seven deadly sins is a love blocker.  These sins are lust, greed, gluttony, envy, anger, pride, and sloth.  Going before the Blessed Sacrament after confessing these sins and asking God to remove them from our life, through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, is a great way to remove these blockages.

After that, we should always try to practice the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. If we want mercy on our deathbed later on, we must show mercy to others now.  It’s definitely a win-win scenario, because the people we help receive our mercy, and then we receive God’s mercy when we need it the most.

Quotes from the Saints about Love

“What is the mark of love for your neighbor? Not to seek what is for your own benefit, but what is for the benefit of the one loved, both in body and in soul.”

–St. Basil the Great 

“You know well enough that Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them.”

–Saint Therese of Lisieux 

“Love is the most necessary of all virtues. Love in the person who preaches the word of God is like fire in a musket. If a person were to throw a bullet with his hands, he would hardly make a dent in anything; but if the person takes the same bullet and ignites some gunpowder behind it, it can kill. It is much the same with the word of God. If it is spoken by someone who is filled with the fire of charity- the fire of love of God and neighbor- it will work wonders.”

–St. Anthony Mary Claret 

“There is no place for selfishness—and no place for fear! Do not be afraid, then, when love makes demands. Do not be afraid when love requires sacrifice”

–Pope St. John Paul II

“We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become. If we love things, we become a thing. If we love nothing, we become nothing. Imitation is not a literal mimicking of Christ, rather it means becoming the image of the beloved, an image disclosed through transformation. This means we are to become vessels of God´s compassionate love for others.

–St. Clare of Assisi

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Retired engineer from Texas, because the cowboy thing on the ranch growing up didn’t work out. Actually rode the Vomit Comet at NASA in Houston once, being totally weightless for 20 minutes!

Married with two kids and Vinnie the Wonder Dog. I love the Church and what it stands for. Without the sacraments, I am nothing.

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  • Yet another article I much needed and didn’t realize until I read it!

    One of my biggest difficulties is I know when the Bible talks about love, it’s not talking about the warm fuzzies. Yes there are people in our life who we will feel love for as we also love them in Christ, but what about those people I not only don’t “feel” and love for, I don’t even like them?

    Is the only way I can tell if I’m loving them as Christ commands simply making sure I don’t wish ill on them? I spend a good amount of time defending life, true marriage, and the faith against those espousing the opposite. And they can get real nasty about it, especially the fundamentalists whom many really hate us. How do you admonish the sinner without wanting to smack them upside their heads?

    I struggle with this constantly and maybe that’s by God’s design. It certainly is humbling. But it also would be great to get a handle on this problem!

    • Ray Sullivan

      People like that are people who you just pray for…Like Christ prayed for his torturers and murderers while they were torturing him and murdering him, we pray for people who do us dirty while they are doing us dirty. It’s the true imitation of Christ. We don’t have to like them; we have to love them. And prayers for their salvation is how we do that.

  • Ray, I know I’ve said this to you before, but your essays are filled with solid food for thought. You are truly a Catholic evangelist. When someone reads your essays they leave with something to contemplate until they read your next essay. Well done. Thank you.

  • james

    Great post Ray. I sometimes wonder if the Love of the Father hounded Satan before being thrown out of heaven. Being pure intelligence it’s possible they should have known better and were given no chance – another way to put it is are there prodigal angels up there ?

    • Ray Sullivan

      No, James, I believe that the tares and the wheat have already been separated in the angelic ranks. With their superior intelligence, they knew exactly what they were doing when they rebelled, unlike Adam, who was kinda not-so-bright when he bit the apple. After death, we don’t get a second chance, either, BTW…

    • james

      It was a rhetorical question – as if we know God’s relations with his angels – but your answer
      makes sense based on what we think happened. I’m a true believer in reincarnation so the
      idea that we don’t get a second chance is moot.

    • Laurence Charles Ringo

      Here’s my question, James: Show me in the Scriptures where ANYONE was reincarnated ( Unless of course you are NOT a Christian.).

    • james

      The evidence was destroyed 5758 years ago in the flood that covered the whole earth and
      this is why so many cultures around the globe have flood legends. Unless of course you
      believe that only Noah and his family were saved.

    • Ray Sullivan

      If if was destroyed, then how do you know this?

    • james

      Get a grip friend we’re comically jousting. If the “whole earth” was covered how did the
      other cultures have flood legends ? Literal translations never testify the whole truth

    • Ray Sullivan

      Hebrews 9:27: And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment,

    • james

      Ray, we had this discussion before in another life.

    • Laurence Charles Ringo

      Who said it was an apple,Ray?

    • Ray Sullivan

      I was speaking rhetorically. It could have been a kiwi…

  • Riki

    First of all am NOT on Facebook .
    Secondly there is not enough space here for my “portfolio” of poems. Your article is about “love” but the language you use in your answer to me lacks a lot of LOVE. So it’s not intelligent enough for you although I am a MSN translator interpreter in 7 languages and a BSN nurse-midwife.
    OK I presume you won’t publish my reaction to your judgment.
    For the Love of God I’ll pray for you. I’m starting my Rosaries.

  • Twenty poems were just deleted from this discussion. These comments sections are intended for polite, intelligent discussions regarding the content of the above article. It is not a convenient place to post your portfolio of poems, lyrics and rhetorical reflections. Please don’t confuse us with Facebook. Thank you.

  • Riki

    C A L L E D TO BE A N U R S E

    When You called me to be a nurse
    I pretended to be deaf, not to hear
    but Your call was very terse
    I felt You more than ever near

    I loved my job as a translator
    I tried with all my might to escape
    the deal with My celestial Debater
    looking for the smallest tiniest gape

    I barely ate, I barely slept
    I refused to watch “Dr. Kildare”
    for his nurse on me her eyes she kept
    I had to run from her inviting stare

    I like to serve but if at all
    then as a flight attendant
    this dragged my parents into a brawl
    in which I acted as the defendant

    Then came the day that I woke up
    hearing Your inviting Voice
    offering me to share Your loving Cup
    how could I refuse this choice

    You asked me to prepare
    myself for “my task for later”
    to get ready for the nursing care
    and in Your Name to cater.

    I accepted without restriction
    and went swift to nursing school
    my belief and strong conviction
    became my most powerful tool

    You’ve always been with me at the bedside
    even patients testified of Your omnipresence
    some of them hot tears they cried
    thankful to receive so much pleasance

    but Lord wherever You are
    there Your opponent prowls
    as the magnificent dog star
    enticing me to throw in the towels

    I may well have lost a battle
    but You promised me the victory
    he will stop his tail rattle
    when I read him his valedictory

    I trust in You, my Savior and Provider.
    Rita Biesemans, 01/09/2014

  • Riki

    BE A GOOD SAMARITAN

    I heard the Good Shepherd’s invitation
    to be a Good Samaritan
    to the destitute of His Creation
    in this love-deprived Globalistan

    If it is really You, my Lord
    calling me to do this chore
    don’t let it be an inedible gourd
    bring me where You want me, I implore

    I want to love You in the needy
    whom You called me to serve
    so that eyes may be bright and beady
    and all tears may quickly swerve

    I’m ready Lord, just pick me up
    don’t let me wait too long
    to drink the longed for stirrup cup
    just let the big bell bong

    I will give myself completely
    until I no longer can
    and will be waiting discreetly
    for the coming of my Good Samaritan

    Rita Biesemans, January 24 2014

    To be a Good Samaritan : Help others in need without any thought for recognition or reward for yourself, for Heaven will be your reward.

    Luke 10 : 25-37

  • Riki

    AT MY MOTHER’S GRAVE

    The rain flushes my tears away
    it’s cold and the sky is grey
    I’m praying, shivering in that chill
    No answer though, it’s complete still

    I try to reach you and bemoan
    beyond that black marble stone
    I had to tell you so much more
    do please listen to me, I implore

    Now that you are so close with the Lord
    my sorrows, troubles at your feet I stored
    I love you, I love you, you were so brave
    I wish I could touch you thru that grave

    Suddenly the sun breaks through
    I take this as an answer from you
    my heart warms up and is accelerating
    while my whole person is jubilating

    Your radiant light is my Noah’s ark
    which surely does dispel the dark
    you’ve always been my example
    in everything, extremely ample.

    Thank you Lord for my mother.
    She died on All Saints Day

    Rita Biesemans March 1997

  • Riki

    A WORLD IN TOTAL DECLINE

    The world has gone nuts
    each one acts like a klutz
    it’s all about me, only me
    thus destroying the family

    There are no more virtues
    the vices know no curfews
    each is his own god, master
    causing the world’s disaster

    They often act as wild animals
    Even dare to live as cannibals
    Everything that once was Holy
    is looked upon as if too lowly

    Pastors abandoning the flock
    discord is splitting the Rock
    causing the sheep to be lost
    sacred values being tossed

    A small remnant lives hidden
    overt creed being forbidden
    waiting for God’s intervention
    for cleansing and redemption

    We cry out loud to You
    our Lord and Savior do
    please hasten Your coming
    hear our desperate longing

    Rita Biesemans
    October 24 2015 Feast Day of saint Raphael

    Our SAD SAD TIMES

  • Riki

    Praising A M E R I C A

    AMERICA, the warm embrace
    I couldn’t believe what I saw
    people working of every race
    I’m still completely in awe

    Whether from Asia, Russia or Africa
    each group has something unique
    enriching the culture of America
    even coming from la Belgique

    The result is a beautiful mosaic
    in which all these shades of colors
    are woven into a picture prosaic
    without jealousy, hatred or horrors

    It is the highest time, don’t you agree
    to turn the world’s judgment into compassion
    to turn the world’s ignorance into empathy
    to treat our fellow men without aggression

    As we love each other unconditionally
    we can end the suffering on this earth
    and obtain for ourselves additionally
    a most gracious spiritual rebirth

    Keep going America on a par with the best
    for they will profess your superior skill
    your warmth distinguishes you from the rest
    for me you are “the Shining City on the Hill”

    Rita Biesemans, 12-21-1997

  • Riki

    THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS

    In You, My Jesus, I confide
    to guide me thru this spiritual test
    enough, enough is that I cried
    help my mind and spirit rest

    King David said that every breath
    every heartbeat in our chest
    even the very moment of our death
    is defined by You, NOT second-guessed

    Child, what good is it to weep and cry
    I’m waiting for you, don’t you see
    your tears hurt Me, I can’t deny
    come to Me, go on a loving spree

    Feel the beating of My Heart
    it beats with love for you
    don’t leave Me, don’t depart
    it’s too early to say “adieu”

    You and your dearly beloveds
    are under My Divine protection
    I am the One Who longs for and covets
    your love, keep walking in My direction

    I love You so much my Jesus, my Master
    I don’t want to pierce Your Heart
    if I ever face that disaster
    touch me with Your Heavenly Dart

    Rita Biesemans, June 27 2014
    The Feast Day of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

  • Riki

    TO MY FATHER, My COMPASS, My GUARDIAN

    Father from whom my life did sprout
    very proudly from the rooftops I shout
    what an exceptional father “thou art”
    our Heavenly Father did set you apart
    to fulfill a strenuous multitask
    raising 9 kids, what more could you ask.
    you forgot about yourself completely
    you lived your life very discreetly
    it was all about us, your kids
    never about you, Heaven forbids
    father, thru all the years of hard labor
    you never acted as a ferocious dictator
    you loved us with all your might
    having you as our dad was a delight
    everybody could always count on you
    you never said no even if you wanted to
    father, the one we always relied on
    except now that you are gone
    to join our mammie your beloved wife
    forever together now in the afterlife
    telling you “I love you” the pain does soften
    I wish I would have told you this more often.

    Rita Biesemans, Father’s Day 2013
    dedicated to my father who died on the same date as my mother November 1st but 12 years later.

  • Riki

    AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS

    O Mary, your bitter tears

    my heart do pierce

    Our Mother is crying

    Her Son is dying

    to save us humanity

    from complete insanity.

    At the foot of the Cross

    for words I feel at a loss

    our sins are causing You distress

    I’m begging You for forgiveness

    I offer You my fears and mishap

    crawling on Your Mother’s lap

    O my Jesus, I need You, I need You

    satan plans coup after coup

    to destroy me, hoping I’d revolt

    he scares me like a thunderbolt

    but while walking in Your footstep

    on satan’s knuckles I will rap

    enough, enough, I do tell him

    the cup is stored unto the brim.

    Kneeling at His Cross’s foot

    Jesus tells me to stay put

    “Let My Graces thee overflow

    My Cross gave satan the final blow”

    I love you so much My child

    and while dying He even smiled.

    Thank You, Mary for this gift,

    and by this my soul did lift.

    Rita Biesemans, Good Friday 3/29/2013

  • Riki

    WHY HEAVEN IS CRYING

    Our Lord and His Holy Mother

    are weeping bloody tears

    as their children don’t bother

    to live in perdition gears

    the tears splatter on rocky hearts

    on a demeanor of “who cares”

    as long as we don’t feel the smarts

    we’ll take care of our own affairs

    walking farther and farther away

    spitting and mocking God in His Face

    denying He made us out of the clay

    worshipping gods of the human race

    we think ourselves so enlightened

    we don’t need no Heavenly God

    no more need to be so frightened

    we join gladly the evil one’s squad

    while Heaven is crying

    the devils laugh

    the unrepentant dying

    join the devils’ staff

    The day will come

    that HE will say :

    “enough, enough

    no more rebuff ”

    Then the earthlings

    will cry to no avail

    Joe 6 packs nor Kings

    will escape eternal wail.

    Rita Biesemans April 26 2013
    Feast Day of Our Lady of Good Counsel

  • Riki

    JESUS IS GOD, GOD IS LOVE

    LOVE has been everything but loved

    In this world He persistently is being shoved

    His very own creatures brush Him aside

    so do many apostles of His Bride

    He is being betrayed over and over

    being scourged even by the Herd’s drover

    Gethsemane’s blood sweating anxiety

    does not even bring us back to piety

    My Jesus, You suffered for us, for me

    the most terrible, bitterest agony

    to reopen the Gate of Your Kingdom

    which for us still is an unearned income

    My children, offer Me all your worries

    calm down, get rid of all your flurries

    leave the world for what he’s worth

    give your soul a new virgin birth

    Come sit with Me in the Silence of My Home

    let go, escape from this world’s pressure dome

    know that I am the most Lonely Daddy

    I wait for you My children, are you ready ?

    Father, may Thy Kingdom come SOON

    on earth as it is in Heaven

    Rita Biesemans, August 2 2014