“This I command you, love one another.”  We are all familiar with this command.  And we know that Jesus said that this is the greatest commandment – to love God and love your neighbor as yourself.  But what is God’s idea of love versus ours, and how do we fulfill it?  I was reminded at the Cincinnati Men’s Catholic Conference this weekend by Father Larry Richards that God really askes two things of us – Pray and Love! Prayer is our communication with God which allows us to know and always remember what God calls us to.  Paul tells us the greatest theological virtue – above all the rest – is Love.  And we hear Jesus tell us in the gospel this week that we love by keeping his commandments.  Love is about placing God above all us, being singularly focused in pleasing Him and recognizing Him in all things.

As Vincentians, this is the cornerstone of who we are.  Prayer and love should be our driving forces.  We love God by serving the poor and vulnerable because this is where we most readily find and see Jesus.  Our virtues of Humility, selflessness, gentleness, simplicity and zeal all turn our eyes away from self and toward God with a passion for agape love – God love – a love of self-sacrifice with no concern for reward.  Am I fully and completely focused on love of God?  Do I continually seek God’s will through prayer?  Do I recognize that all I have is a gift from God and all I do is by the grace of God?  Do I allow God to light me on fire with His love, mercy and compassion?

Lord Jesus, you are my love and my love is totally for you.  Give me the humility to recognize that you are the source of all I have and all I am.  Give me the grace of your gentleness, your patience, and your kindness.  Help me to set my needs and my concerns to the side, trusting that you always care for me, so that I might give myself totally to others in your name.  Let me go with passion, ablaze with your fire, making your love present and visible for all to see.    We pray all of this in your name.  Amen

Deacon Mike