Awe: Love that Embraces…. Pain?

Devotional Thought of the Day:
2  Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. He did not give up because of the cross! On the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for him, he thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and he is now seated at the right side of God’s throne.   Hebrews 12:2 (TEV)

9  Love must be completely sincere. Hate what is evil, hold on to what is good. 10  Love one another warmly as Christians, and be eager to show respect for one another. 11  Work hard and do not be lazy. Serve the Lord with a heart full of devotion. 12  Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times. 13  Share your belongings with your needy fellow Christians, and open your homes to strangers. 14  Ask God to bless those who persecute you—yes, ask him to bless, not to curse. 15  Be happy with those who are happy, weep with those who weep. 16  Have the same concern for everyone. Do not be proud, but accept humble duties. Do not think of yourselves as wise.   Romans 12:9-16 (TEV)

Love has certain standard features. Sometimes we speak o love as if it were an impulse to self-satisfaction or a mere means to selfish fulfillment of one’s own personality. But that’s not love. True love means going out of oneself, giving oneself. Love brings joy, but a joy whose roots are in the shape of a cross. As long as we are on earth and have not yet arrived at the fullness of the future life, we can never have true love without sacrifice and pain. This pain becomes sweet and lovable; it is a source of interior joy. But it is an authentic pain, for it involves overcoming one’s own selfishness and taking Love as the rule of each and every thing we do.

As my son, moments after being born, was laid on my wife’s chest, I witnessed a sense of profound joy. Despite the pain, despite the discomfort, despite the complete lack of privacy, there was great joy!  (Enough so that i didn’t realize my mask was on backward and I was about to pass out from breathing my CO2!)

I thought of that scene as I read the words of St. Josemaria.  They are correct, to love people can hurt, it can disappoint, it can demand that we make sacrifices, or embrace situations where our dignity is cast aside. It is not the one who is our beloved that demands this, but love itself means we take action, we sacrifice, and we embrace the pain.

And yet, I think about the smile on my wife’s face, and realize this dear priest is right again – the pain is no less sharp, the tears no less real, and yet the joy given in the sacrifice is wonderful. .There is no one, in the midst of loving another, that would say the love isn’t worth it, that they would rather go without the one they love. ( again I remind you – the beloved does no, should not demand the sacrifice, or require the pain – that doesn’t love)

This involves us, as St. Paul notes, in the joy and tears of those we love. When one hurts, we all hurt.  When one is enjoying life, that sparks joy in us all.   In every way, the community of faith is affected alongside those who are loved by God together. Who are united in that love, and therefore begin to truly love each other.  We truly embrace the costs of loving, just as Jesus did, know the joy that comes from this love, not only in heaven, but now in reconciliation, and in sharing in the blessings of God.

It even makes those who believe they are our enemies, our beloved.  Just as Christ loves us when we were His enemies.

This is love.

While it is unmerited by the beloved, it costs the one who loves.

But the joy, in inexpressible, beautiful awe-inspiring.

You are the beloved, and because of that, you also love.

Escriva, Josemaria. Christ is Passing By (Kindle Locations 1387-1392). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on August 2, 2016, in Devotions, st josemaria escriva, Theology in Practice and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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