Do simple things with great love
This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (Jn 13:35)
When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a ballerina. I had no dance talent, but thought if I wore all that pink, fluffy, fancy stuff I would surely be a ballerina. Some professions such as law enforcement, the military or medicine are easy to identify by what they wear, but how can you spot a disciple of Jesus? They don’t have pink tutus or stethoscopes or badges to set them apart – but John’s Gospel tells us you can spot them by the way they love.
Love is not just sappy, kissy-face, gooey stuff. Hollywood gets it wrong, social media gets it wrong and television gets it wrong – so it’s no wonder we’re all a little fuzzy when it comes to figuring out what love really looks like! The kind of love John was writing about is the real-deal kind of love. Love is mercy, and mercy means forgiveness and forgiveness means choosing the Father’s way. Love allows us to see people as their Creator sees them, and when we look through his lens, love becomes giving and not taking.
When it comes to discipleship, actions are better than words. Words can be twisted and misinterpreted, but actions are concrete and powerful. When we think about the loving ways we live out our discipleship, it’s important to think small. Most of us will not be called to build a hospital, start an orphanage or open a school to serve forgotten children. We just need to do simple things with great love.
Recently I sat in a huge, old, gorgeous cathedral and I was captivated by its beauty, but I was more deeply touched watching some people show the love of Christ. I watched the woman in front of me reach over to touch the shoulder of a hurting friend. No words were spoken, just a simple touch and a look that was steeped in compassion. As I was gazing at the stunning stained glass windows, I was distracted by a man who used his necktie to play peek-a-boo with a restless toddler in front of him whose mom was trying desperately to hold on to his wiggly body.
As I listened to the first reading, my gaze shifted to the usher as he welcomed a disheveled, frazzled-looking old woman and took her frail arm and escorted her to a seat as if she were the most honored guest. She wore years of worry on her brow, but as that usher put out his arm and led her to an empty seat, you could see the look of gratefulness and peace on her face as she settled in to listen. Loving deeds speak louder than words … so let’s be quiet and get busy!
Pray: Spend a couple of days praying with this verse and ask God to put people in your path who need a little action-packed, quiet love!
Study: Read or watch something about the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Choose one that touches your heart, and make a plan to offer the love of Christ through that work of mercy.
Engage: Make it your mission to be welcoming. Hold the door open for someone, slide over and welcome someone into your pew, or offer the love of Christ to those sitting around with a friendly, genuine smile. We need to be friendly and loving as we welcome each other into Our Father’s House.
Serve: Offer Christ’s love to someone who can’t repay you. Offer to drive someone to church, distract a fussy child during Mass, or contribute to or volunteer to help an organization that serves those in need.