devotional thought of the day:
44 Turning to the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she, with her tears, has washed My feet and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave Me no kiss, but she hasn’t stopped kissing My feet since I came in. 46 You didn’t anoint My head with olive oil, s but she has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 47 Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; that’s why she loved much. But the one who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 Those who were at the table with Him began to say among themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?”
50 And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” Luke 7:44-50 HCSB
760 The cheerful love that fills the soul with happiness is founded on suffering. There is no love without renunciation.
There was a song when I was growing up called “Love Stinks” and though it was talking more about infatuation, there is some truth to the idea.
For love is commitment, and that commitment often requires us to go without, to make sacrifices, to lay all we are on the line, in order to truly care for the one we love.
Parents know this very well, as they will go without to provide for their children, From little things like watching television shows their kids like, and not watching the ones they want to, because they are inappropriate for their child’s ears and eyes. Teachers who give up time to plan, or to think of how to reach “that” student understand this as well.
It is a mystery, a paradox, that delaying or denying your gratification for the sake of the one you love can lead to greater joy, greater happiness.
The lady in the gospel reading found this out. She did something quite costly, anointing Jesus feet with oils that cost her much, oils she probably bought ot treat herself well, to help her forget the pain of life, after suffering the humiliation of submitting to others desires.
Still, in awe of God’s mercy, she sacrificed the reward of her labors to treat Jesus with love, to adore the Man who didn’t drive her away. Maybe she was one of the people invited to Zaccheus’ house, one of the sinners Jesus was accused of eating and drinking with by the Pharisees. She tried to repay that love, with the most costly thing she knew of, with a action of love that showed how much she adored the man that didn’t want sex from her, and still talked to her, and interacted with her.
The suffering that love costs is high, and often it stinks. Yet in the case of loving God, what it demands, though pleasurable, or profitable, is the thing that stops us from knowing joy. We go without the pleasure, without the gain, and find ourselves free.
Just at the prostitute found herself freed from sin, and shame, and guilt. Instead, she knew love, and that she was welcomed in the presence of God. She gave up what was costly and pleasurable and found a joy so much greater, and happiness that comes from being accepted and loved.
knowing this, realizing it in our heart, gives us the motivation, the ability to desire to give up what we need to give up. Not because we have to, but for the joy set before us, the same joy that drove Jesus to endure the cross, for us.
Lord, help us to embrace you, receiving your love. And as our love and adoration “costs” us, help us to realize the joy that comes from knowing that love. AMEN!
Escriva, Josemaria. The Forge (Kindle Locations 2743-2745). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.