Friday, February 08, 2013

Mary TV Daily Reflection 2/8/2013

man and cross 
(c)Josip Zubac 2013
How great is your love?



February 8, 2013

St. Jerome Emiliani


Dear Family of Mary!


"Dear children! Love is bringing me to you - the love which I desire to teach you also - real love; the love which my Son showed you when He died on the Cross out of love for you; the love which is always ready to forgive and to ask for forgiveness. How great is your love? My Motherly heart is sorrowful as it searches for love in your hearts. You are not ready to submit your will to God's will out of love. You cannot help me to have those who have not come to know God's love to come to know it, because you do not have real love. Consecrate your hearts to me and I will lead you. I will teach you to forgive, to love your enemies and to live according to my Son. Do not be afraid for yourselves. In afflictions my Son does not forget those who love. I will be beside you. I will implore the Heavenly Father for the light of eternal truth and love to illuminate you. Pray for your shepherds so that through your fasting and prayer they can lead you in love. Thank you." (February 2, 2013)


"How great is your love? My Motherly heart is sorrowful as it searches for love in your hearts."


Our Lady doesn't cut us much slack in this message. Her words are like a sword to the heart. "How great is your love?" We know that our love is not that great. In fact, we are sometimes surprised at how little our love really is. How many times do we withhold love, or deny someone our loyalty and support, out of self-love? We all fall.


And so did St. Peter. He fell so conspicuously, so completely, that he went out into the night and wept bitterly. He denied that he knew Jesus, just when Jesus was most abandoned. And not just once, but three times.


But after the Resurrection, Jesus came to Peter and asked him how great his love was...:


When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs." A second time he said to him, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep." He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" And he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep. (John 21:15-17)



Jesus knew all about Peter's denial. Jesus knew how fragile Peter was, and how confused he must have been. Jesus needed to repair the break between them, heal Peter's heart and instruct him in "real love". And so He asked Peter to examine his own heart and see what kind of love was there. At each query, Peter made it clear that he understood that Jesus knew his heart, Jesus knew Peter from the inside, and so Jesus knew how strong Peter's love was.  Peter had become very humble after his denial of Jesus. Now he did not depend on his own strength to even know his heart.  He depended completely on Jesus, even to know himself! 


Our Lady is doing the same with us. "How great is your love?" She has seen us fall, she knows all about us. And she wants to heal, to repair our capacity for love. She wants us to have time to examine our own hearts to find the truth about our own love and let God's healing love change them. And so she asks us about our love.  She wants us to examine our hearts with her, so she can help us to understand ourselves, see what is hindering our love, and show us how to depend on God for our capacity to love. 


I also notice that after the Resurrection, Jesus called Peter "Simon, son of John." He did not assume that Peter was going to be the "Rock" at that moment. Only after Peter examined his heart and found the truth about his love was he ready to assume the position of "Rock" again. Peter was given the opportunity to humbly accept his own weakness, and place all his trust in Jesus, knowing that any love in him must come from Jesus, not from his own strength.


Our Lady has asked us to be "living stones". But we will not be able to rely on our own strength. To be living stones, we must recognize our own weakness, be humble, and ask for the Love that comes from God. Then we will be able to take up our place in the living structure of the Church just as Peter did.


So, when Our Lady asks us "How great is your love?", she is imitating Jesus' way of leading and guiding His Apostles. We are her little apostles, and she needs us. How great is our love? Only as great as our humility and dependence on God's love.


In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

Cathy Nolan

© Mary TV 2013