Choose Love

Stefy Mante The Shepherd's Love Opera di Pirografia su legno di pioppo, 2010

The Shepherd’s Love, 2010
Opera di Pirografia su legno di pioppo
By StefyMante (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

[Jesus said,]“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40

When I am in doubt about how to act, how to speak, how to relate to people, all people, my family, friends, colleagues, strangers, foreigners, people who look different from me, who think differently, who believe differently, let Love be my prompter.

When I am in doubt about who I am and what I am doing here, let Love open my heart to the Truth that I am the beloved of God, that you are the beloved of God, that we are the reflection of God’s love to each other and to the whole world.

When I hover between the choice to love or not to love, let Love remind me I was made in love and for love. I am entwined with the One who loved me into being.

What belongs to God

Rembrandt (1606-1669)The Good Samaritan, ca.1655-1660 pen and brown ink and white paint on paper  Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Rembrandt (1606-1669)
The Good Samaritan, ca.1655-1660
pen and brown ink and white paint on paper
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
via Wikimedia Commons

[Jesus] said to them, “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar
and to God what belongs to God.”
Matthew 22:21

As I move through today, let me repay to God forgiveness. I will make a conscious effort to let go of resentment and hard feelings, and to accept others as they are without wishing them to be different.

Let me repay to God healing. I will make a conscious effort to speak and act respectfully, to offer encouragement to others, and to admit when I am wrong.

Let me repay to God generosity. I will make a conscious effort to help someone in material, physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual need.

Let me repay to God nonviolence. I will make a conscious effort to choose peace over conflict, deep within my being and in all my interactions with others.

Let me repay to God compassion. I will make a conscious effort to offer my prayers and support to those who are suffering from the effects of war and life-threatening illness.

Let me repay to God love. I will make a conscious effort to live without fear, to refuse to be a victim, to reject self-pity, to welcome all people as my sisters and brothers in God, and to bring the hope of God’s vision of unconditional, all-encompassing love wherever I go.

The Invitation

Parable of the Wedding Feast

JESUS MAFA. The poor invited to the feast,
from Art in the Christian Tradition,
a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library,
Nashville, TN.
[retrieved October 12, 2014].

Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and elders of the people in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son.” Matthew 22:1

Each day God invites me to the marriage of
peace and nonviolence
acceptance and nonjudgment
mercy and forgiveness
love and compassion
joy and gratitude.

Sometimes I think I am too busy to attend. Just for today, however, I will accept God’s invitation with a thankful heart.

Accepting trust

Speculum Humanae Salvationis, Westfalen oder Köln, um 1360

Speculum Humanae Salvationis, Westfalen oder Köln, um 1360 Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: “Hear another parable…
Finally, [the landowner] sent his son to them, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.'” Matthew 21:37

What kind of God keeps on sending gifts into our lives?

A God who expects us to accept the gift of love and love others. A God who expects us to accept the gift of forgiveness and forgive others. A God who expects us to accept the gift of compassion and give comfort to those who are suffering. A God who expects us to accept the gift of nonviolence and find peaceful solutions to conflict.

A God who trusts us.

The mind and heart of Jesus Christ

Rembrandt (1606-1669) Le lavement des pieds between 1640 and 1649 Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Rembrandt (1606-1669)
Le lavement des pieds, between 1640 and 1649
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Have in you the same attitude that is also in
Christ Jesus, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Philippians 2:5-6

I am made in the image and likeness of God. Today I will choose the God-like attitude of love, forgiveness, and compassion in my relationship with myself and others, and I will seek a way to be of service to someone in need.

Always welcome

 JESUS MAFA. The Late-arriving Workers, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=48296 [retrieved September 21, 2014].

JESUS MAFA. The Late-arriving Workers, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=48296 [retrieved September 21, 2014].

[Jesus told his disciples this parable:] “So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage.” Matthew 20:10

This is the only expectation that won’t disappoint me:
God will love and welcome me whenever I show up—early or late.