The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him” 1 John 3:1. What a thought for all of us to reflect on every day of our lives. Because of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, we have become children of God. And even though the world still does not know him, for us, the greatest proof of God’s love is the gift of his Son, Jesus. In this act of self-giving, the Father has adopted us into His paternal, unconditional, perfect love. What joy! And what loving responsibility it places on us to love him in return.
This relationship that we have with him, that began with the Incarnation, is also a present reality. It is our reality today, in 2017, and will be in the life to come. Though we only understand this partially now, true knowledge of this truth will ultimately be gained. Like anything worthy of our human dignity and our eternal souls, the quest for this knowledge requires our commitment and our hard work.
John has given us the starting point. He has, through the Holy Spirit, told us the truth about our relationship with God through Jesus. It is up to us to believe this and to act in accord with this knowledge. Like every good father, our Father has given us the means, the “rules” to be followed. He has shown us, through Jesus, the “narrow path” that must be followed in order to enter his eternal kingdom.
As children of God, we are challenged by the Father, through the example of his Son, Jesus, to walk in his Way. This is not easy, for we are sinners. It is a hard path. It is the path of virtue, that is, the practice of recognizing, choosing, and doing what is really good more and more often, until it becomes a habit. What virtues are we called to practice in order to prepare ourselves to live with the Father now and in the life to come? Those virtues include such things as humility, self-control, kindness, generosity, courage, patience, and mercy. And do we not know in our own experience how hard these virtues are to gain? Yet, each new day is another opportunity to reflect on the love that the Father shows us in Jesus, and to take it to heart well enough to practice those virtues that are most difficult for us. No herculean, or Nietzschean force of will can help us here. All that is needed is our innocent desire to live as his children. He knows our hearts. He will provide all that we need to fulfill that desire in the form of grace and his forgiveness. Thanks be to God and his Fatherly love for us!
In Jesus’ name we pray that our hearts will begin to submit to this love with humble awe and that we will begin this day to practice his Way with childlike wonder and joy. Our hearts are restless until they rest in you, O God. Amen!
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