Fr. Nicolas Schwizer
The human saga is an impressive search for love accompanied by marvelous successes and great failures. The most profound longing in the heart of man is the desire to love and to be loved. He has been created by love and for love, and only in love can he develop and be fruitful.
It is, surely, also one of our experiences: Love is what is essential and foremost in our human life. And we also know the other side of the coin: Who lives without love is sterile; only the egoist fails in life.
In the life of the Christian, love has to manifest itself in two dimensions: toward God and toward the brothers and sisters. And it is in the person of Jesus Christ that they unite, it is in Jesus Christ that these two dimensions of love cross each other. He is the Man-God. In Him we recognize and find – at the same time – God and man. Therefore, when we love Jesus, they blend into one thing, the love for God and the love for mankind. Thus, the fundamental attachment, the original love of the Christian must lead to Jesus Christ.
For that reason, Jesus asks Peter three times about his love for Him: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” A vital love, profound and personal for his Master, is what is most important and decisive in this moment in which Jesus calls Peter to be the leader of the apostles and the Church.
But it seems to me that this question which Jesus aks Peter is not only for Peter, but also for all of us. Each one of us, in the depth of his heart must respond to Him. Each one of us should examine ourselves, our attitude, our fidelity, our love towards Jesus Christ.
Then we are left with the question: What can we do so that our love for Christ may grow and deepen? For me it seems that two aspects are especially important:
First. We must do battle against self-centeredness, which is very deep within ourselves. None of us, if we want to be a true Christian, can desist from this daily battle.
Only this renunciation of selfish love makes man free, open and generous to truly love Christ and others.
Second. To be able to love a person, we have to know the person, we have to take interest in the person. To be able to love Jesus, we have to know Him by looking at his life and listening to his teachings.
If we do not know Him, if we know nothing of his generosity nor of his unselfish surrender, nor of his abundant love for us, then we will never be able to respond to his love.
Therefore, we have to dedicate time to Him….. read his Gospel….. talk to Him…..get to know Him and meditate on his life so that we may stay in his presence.
What we said about Jesus Christ, we can also say about his Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. To grow in our attachment and love for Her, we have to know Her more…..approach Her….. speak to Her….. share our life, desires, and concerns with Her.
Let us ask Jesus and Mary to take from us that selfishness which is so penetrating and which leaves our life infertile, and to set our hearts afire with love which makes our existence authentic and great.
Questions for reflection
1. How do I strive against selfishness?
2. How much time per day do I spend thinking of Jesus?
3. How is my relationship with the Virgin Mary?