Monday, June 14, 2010

They will know You by Your Love

I often wonder if people I don't know would guess that I am a Christian:

the cashier at the grocery store, the strangers I pass taking a walk, the barista making my coffee, the Comcast employee on the other end of a frustrating phone call.

And--even scarier--I wonder if the people I do know would guess that I am a Christian:

family members, friends, fellow parishioners at chuch, casual aquaintances.

Jesus said, "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:35

I try to love well when I think about it...but other times it's like life passes me by, and an opportunity to love has just expired when I snap back to reality:
  • walking too quickly or looking down without taking time to greet others in my path;
  • mechanically paying for my groceries...or setting my cell phone down just long enough to utter a "hello" and swipe my card;
  • forgetting that Comcast employees are children of God, too (it's so much easier to love the barista who hands me a steaming hot cup of vanilla flavored coffee...), and that it is not their fault that my internet is not working;
  • giving an innocent man at Target the stink-eye when he picked up my box of diapers (the very last box of that variety and size)...that I had put back on the shelf...while I contemplated whether or not DryMax Pampers were really going to give my child diaper rash for the rest of his young life.
  • and the list could go on...

And those who do know me--those who know I am a Christian--do I treat them as such? Sometimes, but not always.

It's so easy for me to lose focus of the universal mission to love and to let selfish desires get in the way.

We are (or at least, I am) too often aloof--indifferent, dispassionate, unresponsive, apathetic, unconcerned, distant (talk about a list of unattractive words). I know how I want to live and how I ought to live, but I get distracted by the world and forget to love.. or don't feel I have the energy to love...or don't think it matters if I love (When I have to wait an hour to see my son's doctor, the secretary doesn't really expect me to smile on my way out, does she??).

I have heard it said that the opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference.

But if we "take" Jesus with us--if we let Him guide our hearts, we will never be indifferent.
When praying the Rosary, I often meditate on the Visitation:
Elizabeth greets Mary, "Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb!"

As I ponder this mystery of our Blessed Mother (pregnant with our Lord) going to visit her cousin, Elizabeth (also pregnant--with John the Baptist), two things I am reminded of are:

1) Mary's perfect charity (she always chose to love).

2) How Mary "took" Jesus with her wherever she went.

In the story of the Visitation, Mary quite literally took Jesus with her when visiting her cousin. But it wasn't just this one occassion; she always took Him with her. I would guess that it was always clear to others, strangers and kin alike, that Mary was a Christian.

While I was pregnant, I would pray that I could take Jesus with me wherever I went the same way I took Augustine with me wherever I went. Granted he took awhile to really show himself, but for the last several months of my pregnancy there was no guessing: I was pregnant. I had only to walk into a room and everyone who saw me knew I was carrying a little one.
Wouldn't it be great if it was just as obvious that we were Christian as it was that I was pregnant (and believe me, it was obvious!)??

Very pregnant on Christmas day after Augustine was due.

I want to live my life--I want to act in a way--so that I have only to walk into a room and others know I am a Christian. Not for my glory, but for the glory of the Lord.

Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and give glory to your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

It is a constant battle, a continuous conversion, but I desire to be a disciple of the Lord and to grow in my relationship with Him, so I must chose to love...more often than I do now.

(This is not meant to be preachy...just sharing some thoughts and reminding myself of some things...).

Let us pray for one another!

If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20

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