Memorial of St. Charles Lwanga and Companions, martyrs
Where I went to school in Oregon, there was a perfect view of Mount Hood and the Cascades. I say that, but that was only on days when it was not overcast. In Oregon, you had to believe that there were mountains behind the clouds even when you did not always see them.
Knowing that there were mountains in the landscape was a type of faith. Our supernatural faith is such that I can say I have it, but day to day it may not be evident. It is only when the chips are down that I can be sure that I continue to trust in God’s providence and goodness.
The same thing can be said of love. We take for granted that we love, but rising to the standard of the theological virtue of love could be in question. Jesus asks Peter to the point of offense and annoyance whether he actually loves Him. It is like when you blandly ask someone how they’re doing and they reply, “Fine.” Then, you ask: “How are you really doing?”
Do I really love the Lord? For me who have vowed poverty for sake of Jesus’ Kingdom; do I strive to live without distraction to following Christ or have I embraced a comfortable middle-class lifestyle? For married persons, the union reflects Jesus’ covenant with the Church; do I love, honor, and cherish for better or worse, or am quick to undermine the relationship by complaining to friends about my spouse? For all the baptized, we are called to make holiness our priority; do I say that I pray daily, but in reality, am I only saying a before-meal prayer?
The love that Jesus calls us to choose takes us where we don’t want to go. Why not give up these things that we think we cannot live without? Why have anxiety about changing behavior? Christ promised us abundant life, and I trust because He died and rose, that when He said it, He was not lying. So, if you actually love Jesus like you say you do, follow Him completely.
Reflection by Fr. Pachomius Meade, OSB