Memorial of St. John Neumann, Bishop
I will often look over the readings for the coming week when writing a reflection like this and think, “what is the best way to approach this?” I’ve found that I can’t really write a good reflection unless it’s something that touched my heart first. I can only write or give a witness to Christian love if I’ve committed myself to following it first.
The First Letter of John exhorts the listener to “love one another” because “love is of God” and ultimately leads one to God. Love is one of the most talked-about Christian terms and sadly the least well defined. You can “love” a lot of things without having loved at all.
Once as a junior monk, I served as a waiter for the first time. We have had a tradition of monks serving as waiters for each other from week to week. One older monk always loved his dessert. I walked past him without giving him a cookie. He was so mad not to get his dessert that he put both hands on the table and rose to his feet. I’ve never seen someone get bent out of shape, literally, only because they didn’t get their dessert. So, point in fact, love is more than just loving a certain thing.
Love entails self-giving. Love means committing to something or someone without any guarantee of a return. John Neumann, a missionary to the United States and Bishop of Philadelphia, knew the price of love. He left his family and homeland behind to minister to Catholics in the United States. He came out of love for souls and God. Let us remember, by his example, that love entails self-giving and commitment.
Reflection: When you consider this viewpoint of Christian love, how does it relate to your life? How can you work to be more committed and self-giving in your own relationships?
Reflection by Br. Matthew Marie, OSB