Give Priority to Love

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Studies have shown that those who lead happy and purposeful lives give priority to love.’ Jesus, too, stressed the importance of love: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35). When we speak of love we have to make a distinction between the emotion of love and the choice of love. To lead a happy and meaningful life, we have to give priority to love as a choice. It is true that I have no power over whether others love me or not. But I have total control over whether I become a loving person. This comes out very clearly in the life story of Elsa who was born and brought up in Germany in the midst of World War II. Her father was an officer in the German army. He loved Elsa very much. Yet, when the war was over, he deserted the family by choosing not to return home.

Elsa’s mother was very angry and took her anger out on Elsa. Elsa had a difficult time as a child and as an adolescent because she felt that her mother did not love her, though she did not know why. But there was a moment when she came to an important realization. “At some point, I can’t say exactly when, I realized that if I could not get love I had to become love.’ It is hard to explain, but what I realized was that while I had very little control over whether others loved me, I realized that I had complete control over whether I became a loving person. Somehow I knew that if I became a loving person, people could not help but love me. Also, I realized that God loved me and that just by being a human being I was already completely worthy, and this was something no one could take away from me. Although I cannot fully explain it, there was a transformation when I decided to become love rather than seek love”

We give priority to love in three ways. First we choose to love our own selves. Then we choose to act with love to those who are very close to us – family and friends. And finally we choose to become love in all our interactions with people. First we choose to love our own selves. If we do not love ourselves we cannot love others. The love of self is fundamental to our emotional and spiritual health and well-being. That is why we are asked to love our neighbour as ourselves (See Lev 19:18). For some of us it is quite easy to love ourselves because we have been brought up in such a way that we have developed a deep sense of self-worth. For others love of self is quite difficult because of their past experience.

This Excerpt is taken from the book ‘Give More Than You Take: Reflections on the daily living of the Faith’ by Kurien Kunnumpuram, SJ. For more information on the book: Click Me!

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We must confess our sins!

Confession

Scripture makes a distinction between two types of sin: mortal sin and venial sin (see 1 Jn 5:16-17). Mortal sin is, as its name implies, the more deadly of the two, for it chokes off God’s life in the soul. Mortal sin kills us spiritually. Mortal sin always involves “grave matter” — the most important things in life. Even nonbelievers will often recognize the gravity of these offences. Thus, for example, murder is a mortal sin, and it is universally recognized as a crime; the same goes for grand theft, perjury, and adultery. Other grave matter, however, can be seen only with the eyes of faith. Thus, for example, it is a mortal sin to miss Mass on a Sunday.

Every time we go to the sacrament of penance, we must confess any and all mortal sins committed since our last confession. We must clearly state the types of mortal sin we’ve committed and the number of times we’ve committed them. If we hold back any mortal sins, then we have not made a valid confession. Indeed, to deliberately withhold confessing a mortal sin is itself a mortal sin. Since a sacrament is an oath before God, such nondisclosure represents a sort of perjury.

We are not strictly required to confess our venial sins — the catechism calls them “everyday faults” — but the Church, the saints, and the mystics have always recommended this (see CCC, 1458).

It’s important to remember, in our confession, that we’re not telling God anything he doesn’t already know. He knows our sins better than we do. He knew Adam’s sin when he invited Adam to confess. He knew Cain’s when he invited Cain to confess. He wants us to confess not for his good, but for ours, because he knows that confession is a necessary step in our process of healing toward holiness.

Confession is necessary, but there are some very limited circumstances in which a priest may dispense with confession and grant absolution anyway. In times of dire emergency, when a number of people are in immediate danger of death — in the heat of battle, or if a plane is about to crash — a priest may pronounce a “general absolution”. Even this requires that penitents must be sorry for their sins, though it dispenses with their need to confess their sins. Even then, the penitent, if he should survive, must go as soon as possible to make an ordinary sacramental confession.

This Excerpt is taken from the book ‘Lord, Have Mercy: The Healing Power of Confession by Scott Hahn. For more information, click me 🙂

Verse of the Day: Matthew 6:24

No one can be a slave of two masters; he will hate one and love the other; he will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money Matthew 6-24

One of my favorite verses from the Holy Bible. So often in life we focus on the pursuit of  money and neglect  God. We may not do it on purpose but it is a reality that we cannot ignore. Our thoughts and actions might revolve around the pursuit of materialistic things and at the end of the day, there is a feeling of emptiness.

While it is important to work on your business or daily needs in life,  we should always remember who our creator is. Jesus so rightly says that ” No one can be a slave of two masters; he will hate one and love the other; he will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money”.

The need of the hour is to give your best at what you do but always be focused on God and not get lost in the material temptations of the world.