“And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:14
This past month I have been pondering how to listen and to care. (see last month’s blog entry—A Heart of Flesh). I have asked God for that grace and tried to carry that thought into my day’s activities. It can be challenging to discern God’s will, but I feel certain that, overall, God’s will for me is to grow in love as my life unfolds. I want to shed those things that keep me from loving well.
I recently read some advice that Francis de Sales gave to one of his directees:
“She was to learn to love beyond her present capacity. She was eventually to learn to love all that life presented to her. By doing this she would open herself radically to the presence of God in all events. She, like the Savior she adored, would stretch out her arms to embrace all her “crosses,” knowing that in the act of authentic loving, resignation in its most profound sense, she was being fashioned in the image she loved and bringing that image into the world.” Wendy Wright, The Bond of Perfection.
- To love beyond my present capacity.
- To love all that life presents to me.
- To be fashioned into the image that I love —Jesus.
- To bring that image into my world.
Quite a lofty challenge Francis de Sales offers me—offers us—today. I’m drawn to the idea of paying attention to my present capacity as well as the capacity of others. And I’m hopeful that God can always increase our present capacity. I pray for the desire to accept this challenge, the courage to walk it out, the patience to get back up when I fail, and the humility to keep asking for help.
“As long as you live, keep learning how to live.” Seneca
I have adopted a friend’s simple and sincere prayer: “I can’t do this God. Please help me.”
I’m reminded to be gentle with myself and others as we are unfolding into God’s design.
“O God, no one is beyond the reach of your love; help us to appreciate one another as we are, not expecting more than we can do or give at the time.” Peoples Companion to the Breviary