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Love Like Jesus

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I learned a while back, through experiences with a counselor, that the adage that you hurt the ones you love the most is because you know that they will love you no matter what you do. When you love someone enough that they feel comfortable throwing every mean and nasty thing your direction, it plays out like a backwards compliment. That person feels safe with you. This is what it means to be Jesus. Love hurts. For as much as we love God/Jesus, we also are the source of tremendous hurt. Thank goodness God never stops loving us or caring for us in the way that we may stop loving or caring about those who hurt us. That is the power of God’s unconditional love and mercy. Love like Jesus.

And in your trials, praise the Lord, adore Him, praise Him, and if you are capable of praising Him in your trials, then He will solve your problems. This is the meaning of the Our Father: we are children and the Father does everything if we abandon ourselves to Him as little children. ~Fr. Tomislav Vlasic, spiritual counselor to the visionaries of Medjugorie

Tags: love, jesus, trust

God's Great and Vast Mercy

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Matthews 20:1-16 serves as a reminder for us about how great and vast God's mercy and generosity are. Our salvation is not earned, but freely given by God. 

Jesus provides salvation for all who accept His invitation, no matter the timing. Sometimes, we can be like the laborers who worked the fields all day, and think we are a "better Christian" somehow based on how long we have faithfully practiced our faith, how much we pray, or volunteer, or give to charity. Jesus wants us to focus on the fact that we should be thankful that we have been invited to "labor in the field" at all.

Christ invites us to focus less on comparing ourselves to others and more on our interior life; our personal relationship with God. Only when we strive to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul can we truly love our neighbor as ourselves.

Tags: love, mercy

Love Your Neighbor As Yourserlf

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“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Gosh, like so many things Jesus says, at first glance, it sounds so easy, so straightforward. However, for people who struggle to love themselves, to truly see worth in themselves in the way God does, this verse can be particularly baffling. I have always found it easier to pour out myself for others who I care about, to compliment them, to see their value, their worth, than to see my own. I often find my worth in my ability to be useful to others. In doing this, I fail to see the fullness of my worth through God’s eyes, and in so doing fail to see the full complexity of my neighbor.  Loving our neighbor means more than what we refrain from doing to them, in living the commandments, but what we actively do for them in positive service projects. Loving our neighbor means meeting them where they are, by loving their complexity, their positive and negative traits, not for what they can and cannot do for us or even for themselves, but just for who they are. I think this is hard to do for many of us, because we don’t love ourselves in this complexity. We see ourselves as our career, our accomplishments, or our ability to raise a family. God is calling us to love our neighbor as we love our self, but this presumes loving our self. So I challenge you to get to know and love yourself, your faults and failings especially, as this will better prepare you to love your neighbor in a way that gives God joy, but also remember to give yourself grace along the way, it’s not as easy as it sounds. 

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