The last year of my life a word has been following me around, almost haunting me. The word is BOLD. The word bold means:showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous. Some people are natural risk takers in life and there are others who like to play it safe. Personally, I am confident is some areas of my life (sometimes overly) and in other areas, I am stuck playing it safe. I am sure the Holy Spirit is asking me to be bold in an area of my life where I am not so bold. It makes me want to breathe a heavy sigh of “oh man, really?”. I don’t like stepping out of my comfort zone. It is much easier to keep to myself. However, that is not how we are to live our faith. We are to live our faith in communion with one another, helping each other on our path to heaven.
So I have been trying to heed the call to be bold, yet every time I go to write on a topic that I feel like I am supposed to write on, I get stuck. The words either don’t flow right or I can’t find just the right words to convey what I mean. I carefully try to construct my posts so that people hear what I am saying whether they agree with me or not. I am trying not to be the person who people avoid when they walk into a room. At first, I thought it was fear keeping me from writing and I wasn’t listening to the call to be bold. However, after my retreat to Mater Dolorosa and reading Pope Francis’ homily today (May 14, 2013), I realize that isn’t it the case. Yes, I am being called to be bold! However, before I can be bold (or anyone else for that matter) we need to show Christ’s love for one another.
So what does that mean? It means walking with any of our brothers or sisters in Christ who have fallen away from the Church and continuing to love them despite their choices in life. It means that the pregnant woman who is seeking an abortion feels our love and concern for her and her child and not the shouts of condemnation. It means when she walks out of the clinic after aborting her child, we look her in the eyes and continue to show her Christ’s compassion and love. It means loving those who make us uncomfortable (we all have different comfort levels). It means loving the person who continues to hurt us or take advantage of us (this is not to be confused with letting someone ‘abuse’ you). It simply means we are there to bring love when it is uncomfortable, when we don’t want to and even when we want to run away. Please don’t confuse the loving gesture as acceptance, but know that it shows how God never leaves His sheep even when they don’t recognize Him. It is not easy, especially when we see people hurting from their own mistakes or we see how they are hurting the Body of Christ. Yet, it was just this “group” of people Jesus sought when he walked this Earth. He spoke with love and when they felt they were loved, they could hear His message of conversion.
I am reminded by scripture just how important it is to love. In fact, it is the most important thing.
So faith, hope, love remain, theses three, but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13)
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life (John 3:16)
But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back (Luke 6:35)
Let love be sincere; hate was is evil, hold on to what is good (Romans 12:9)
With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love (Ephesians 4:2)
Above all, let your love for oned another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins (1 Perter 4:8)
If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:20-21)
And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful (Colossians 3:14-15)
I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)
Ok, I could go on quoting so many other scriptures, but it obvious, make sure you always LOVE first!!