Discovering the transformational love of Christ is something that sounds challenging for some of us. Maybe for others, it seems to be an easier task. We are currently in the “Year of Mercy” declared by our Holy Father Pope Francis which began at the start of the current liturgical year back in November. Pope Francis explained transformational love during his Angelus Address two years ago:
“God is always capable of transforming us too, the way he transformed Peter and Paul; transforming the heart and forgiving us for everything, thus transforming the darkness of our sin into the dawn of light. God is like this: he transforms us, he always forgives us, as he did with Peter and as he did with Paul. – St. Peter’s Square, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, June 29, 2014
Finding More of God’s Love in Our Lives
Pope Francis’ quote is something to ponder; the Lord is so merciful toward every one of us that his love alone can completely change and transform every part of our lives. And yes, this concept may seem difficult to embrace, but it is a reality if we are open to his love and the Holy Spirit. God’s impact and healing love shined through with saints such as Sts. Peter and Paul and with many other saints. The sacrificial love they shared made a monumental impact on the Church and the world forever. This is exciting news for us that the love of Christ and this transformation is available to all of us.
Walking Toward the Lord and His Love
Whenever we go on a journey, we are walking or traveling toward a place or a person. There is always a reason and a final destination in our daily travels too. Yes, sometimes those travels are the places we “need to go” such as work, the store, errands, transporting a relative or friend, and the list could go on and on. Point being, in everything we do, there is some kind of purpose. I believe that Step One in discovering the transforming love of Christ starts within our hearts and in discovering that in all that we do, God’s hand is with us and God’s love is sustaining and guiding us if we allow Him. This in itself is so powerful, it is something to ponder.
It is not easy to come to that place inside ourselves where we realize there is someone much greater than us who is our Creator and the one who loves us, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. We who know and understand our faith and believe it with our hearts know that Jesus is the true anchor of our lives and our Savior. It all begins here. Where we welcome his love into our hearts and the sacrifice He made for us by dying on a cross for our sins so that someday at the end of our own lives we can live with him and with all of saints and angels in Heaven. That is much to think about and understand, but it is also the very beginning of believing more deeply in God and the Church and also of the transforming love of Christ.
In addition to coming to a place in our hearts of greater insight of our mortality, another thing we will have to do is come to grips with something called “pride”. There are a couple different definitions or views of the word, however, I am referring to the negative connotation. This would be the kind of behavior or thought process that refuses to see beyond oneself and one’s importance. “Having to be right” all the time may be another way to describe it. Acting or speaking “defensively” with others is another example. And the idea that my own ideas, beliefs, and even my own “world” are more important than other peoples.
We currently live in a society that places the “self” at the very top of the list of importance. And I’m not saying that in a holistic way we should neglect the things in our lives that need our attention and care. Not at all. But in addition to opening our hearts to the Holy Spirit, we must be willing to open our ears to others and also not be afraid to be “wrong” once in a while in a disagreement or in discussions with our family, friends or peers. Coming to a place in our hearts where we let go of the judgment we have of others, and opening ourselves to the idea that God will come into our hearts even more fully once we learn to exercise more humility in our hearts and more love. For God truly is love.
God Forgives Us
As Pope Francis has stated in the quote mentioned, “he transforms us, he always forgives us”. Transformation continues in an even greater way when we forgive others. As Catholic Christians, we have a tremendous gift the Sacrament of Reconciliation”. This the gift of confessing our sins to a priest and receiving the gift of God’s forgiveness of every one of our sins. There is something profoundly humbling in the act of telling another human what we have done wrong and ask for God’s forgiveness. And through the “Ministry of the Church”, God truly does offer his “pardon and his peace”, as the Prayer of Absolution states. Of course, we can offer our sorrow to God any time through our days without going to Confession. However, it is a great blessing to be able to release our sins to the Lord through the ministry of the Catholic priesthood, and also rest assured that we have truly been forgiven for our sins.
The Dawn of Christ’s Light in our Hearts
Once we have come to that place at some point in our lives when we know God’s love more fully, we begin to tackle our pride and when we ask for God’s forgiveness and receive it, the Lord will turn our sin into the “dawn of light”. This is a miracle in our own souls that has happened. We have to continue to come to God again, and again, each day, of our lives for more of his spirit and for more of his love! In turn, we can take the gifts we receive from him and give it to other people. The whole world needs this love, and we should give it to the people we come in contact with. Not just Christians and Catholics but all people. And this is the way the world will meet Jesus Christ, through our experience of him and of his transformational love
Prayer for Christ’s Transformational Love
Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for the gift of life. Thank you for the gift of love and of your forgiveness. We wish to follow your ways and we wish to be healed of our pride and of any unforgiveness we have toward anyone else. Heal us of all the events in our lives that have separated us from you. We love you and we wish to be transformed in our hearts to love you more and to offer that same love to all we come into contact with. We ask this in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.