Saturday, April 26, 2014

Saturday in the Octave of Easter: Impossible Not to Witness Love

"It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heart." - Acts 4:20

“Go into the whole world
 and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” – Mk 16:15

Genuine love cannot be contained. Like the life-force emanating from all created beings, it is resilient, persistent, unstoppable. Like water over-spilling its container, love overflows beyond a person’s heart and hands. Peter and John in Acts 4 risk further imprisonment and persecution by proclaiming that it is impossible not to testify to what they’ve experienced regarding the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Through retreat work and sharing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, I am very blessed to know people who are experiencing God’s love in such a way and depth that they cannot keep it to themselves. Their tales of transformation are inspiring: a young woman is quitting her high paying job to spend four months serving the poor and making a month-long retreat not because she’s having a crisis, but because she wants to respond more deeply to God with her life; a single mother who struggled with depression, trying to earn love and seek approval much of her life now shares about the joys of praying early every morning, taking walks with God, experiencing peace consistently, even through her times of loneliness, and empowering her children to a genuine discovery of their own faith; a reserved Vietnamese man apologizing to his children and family in public with an honesty and humility that elicits similar courage from other men; a young couple grieving the loss of their newborn with a raw openness and strength that reverberates through both of their own extended families. These stories are proclaimed by action more than by words.  These people carry out St. Francis of Assisi’s advice: “Proclaim the Gospel always; and when necessary, use words.” Our new Pope seems to be one of these people.

There is a clear pattern happening to these people: as they allow themselves to be touched, healed, forgiven, lead, etc… they magnify God’s love and goodness. They cannot keep such a life-force to themselves. Moreover, the more they let God effect grace in their lives, the more they become instruments of peace and joy. Step-by-step, in ordinary living, with openness, they join this revolution of love, this conspiracy of grace, this contagion of life. They manifest an ordinary witness of extraordinary love. They inspire people around them. I am one of these people, who is empowered to be likewise.

O Risen One, grace me with your humility and courage to magnify your presence and love in the way I treat people around me.

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