We have a duty of thanksgiving toward God for the unconditional, sacrificial love he has given us in Jesus Christ and for our salvation.
In Jesus we see the great love that the Father has so generously lavished upon us. Through Jesus we have been made brothers and sisters in Christ and children of God. What a thought! We are God’s children. We have a father, an abba, who loves us more than we can imagine, who sacrificed his all for us out of his infinite love for us. We are children of God, but we do not yet know the full depth of that relationship and will not, until Christ comes again. What we know now is only a hint of what is to come.
This, as yet, incomplete knowledge fills us, though, with hope, a hope that transcends earthly desires. Our hope is in the promise of an eternal relationship with God where we will finally know him face to face, in his fullness. As God’s children, we also have an obligation of mutual love toward him. This relationship on God’s part is true and present, yes, even now, in our present reality. His eyes are upon us now, in each and every moment. We have a duty of thanksgiving toward God for the unconditional, sacrificial love he has given us in Jesus Christ and for our salvation.
What is that duty? It is to begin the lifelong effort to live pure lives, to draw closer to His purity. What he wants from us is our desire to be pure as He is pure. He will give us all the graces that we need to be able to do so along the way. More importantly, He will, without hesitation, forgive us for our failings along that long pilgrimage road, and encourage us to carry on.
To be pure is to be holy in a world that is often in opposition to the Christ life, just as it was in the time that John was writing this letter. Our struggle to answer this call to purity, to personal holiness today, is no different than it was for the early Christian communities. There are those around us who think that the way of Christ is foolishness. There are those who despise it for it reveals their own sinfulness to them. As Christians, we are called to live in a way that is governed both internally and externally by a purity of love, that is, a love that is charged with mercy, alive with understanding and forgiveness, that is rooted in compassion, kindness, and a willingness to pay the price of suffering in the constant struggle for the good, the true and the beautiful. This life is a life of virtue. It is a life lived in the habits of temperance, courage, self-control, and patient endurance in submission to the liberating will of God. These are the products of a deepening relationship with God that is fostered by a habitual emersion in the study of the scriptures, participation in the sacraments, in regular Church attendance, and constant prayer. It is the result of the habit of practicing an awareness of God’s presence in all things, all places, and at all times.
Lord, teach us to keep our minds on you wherever we are, in whatever we do. Increase in us a desire to deepen our relationship with you through the struggles and the joys that we encounter each day of our lives. Let your Spirit descend upon us every day, especially in the difficult moments, to enliven our faith, to encourage our hope, and to strengthen our love for you and for our neighbor. We pray, as always, in the name of Jesus. Amen!
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