That heart is free which is held by no love other than the love of God.
And that is one thing I need to get good and straight. If I am too concerned with my progress in sanctity, in contemplation, then I am very definitely dividing my love and my energies between God and something that is less than Him.
In a very real sense not one of us is qualified, but it seems that God continually chooses the most unqualified to do God’s work, to bear God’s glory. If we are qualified, we tend to think that we have done the job ourselves. If we are forced to accept our evident lack of qualification, then there’s no danger that we will confuse God’s work with our own, or God’s glory with our own.
We might say the whole mystery of our redemption in Christ, by his incarnation, his death and his resurrection, consists of this marvelous exchange: in the heart of Christ, God has loved us humanly, so as to render our human hearts capable of loving divinely. God became man so that man might become God—might love as only God is capable of loving, with the purity, intensity, power, tenderness, and inexhaustible patience that belong to divine love.50 It is an extraordinary source of hope and a great consolation to know that, by virtue of God’s grace working in us (if we remain open to it by persevering in faith, prayer, and the sacraments), the Holy Spirit will transform and expand our hearts to the point of one day making them capable of loving as God loves.
There is only one thing to live for: love. There is only one unhappiness: not to love God. That is what pains me on these days of recollection, to see my own soul so full of movement and shadows and vanities, cross-currents of dry wind, stirring up the dust and rubbish of desire.
Job, I came to see, is the model of what an Italian biblical scholar has called “the believer who loves the true God in himself and for himself, without ulterior motives”—and does so precisely along the dark path of suffering. It is Job, sitting amidst misery, who rejects his friends’ calculating, facile suggestions about why bad things happen to good people. It is Job who, in the end, refuses to cram the divine will and purpose onto the procrustean bed of human wisdom. It is Job who, finally, lets God be God—and who, by admitting that he is not the artisan of his own existence, makes a deeper act of faith in the God whose divine “logic” in beyond anything human minds can grasp.
[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_dropcap color=”” boxed=”no” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]N[/fusion_dropcap]o circumstance in the world can ever prevent us from believing in God, from placing all our trust in him, from loving him with our whole heart, or from loving our neighbor. Faith, hope, and charity are absolutely free, because if they are rooted in us deeply enough, they are able to draw strength from whatever opposes them! If someone tried to silence our faith by killing us, our deaths would be the best possible proclamation of our faith! Love, and only love, can overcome evil by good and draw good out of evil.
Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) is simply the Rule of the Secular Franciscan in action. Our Rule is based on the Gospels; JPIC is also based on the Gospels. It bubbles up from the Gospels. It is lived out from the Gospels. JPIC is not just something we do, it is who we are, as followers of Jesus in the way of Saint Francis of Assisi. It is an attitude that influences what we do and how we minister, with God, with ourselves, with other people and with creation.
The Incarnation then for (St.) Francis becomes the first moment of experiencing the greatest love possible and becomes the one single and most important event in all human history. God is physically with us as one of us, able to touch and be touched and showing us our salvation. God’s love continues without condition all the way to the cross, where not even life is more precious than the continued outpouring of unconditional love which does not fade in the face of diversity.
~ Bob Fitzsimmons, OFS, “St. Francis and His Approach to Divinity” (FUN Manual)
Anyone who takes his relationship to God seriously soon sees that prayer is not merely an expression of the inner life which will prevail on its own, but is also a service to be performed in faith and obedience. Thus it must be willed and practiced.