“O Lord, teach me to do Your will, teach me to stand worthily and humbly in Your presence, because you are my Wisdom, Who truly know me, and did know me before the world was made, and before I was born to the world.” (IC 3,3,7) | “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.” (Jn 15:16)

Kempis closes out this chapter (3,3) with the proper attitude of a servant toward his Master: do God’s will, be worthy of the name Christian, be humble realizing that I am nothing and God is everything, and all wisdom comes from God.  The Lord knows us better than we know ourselves and has conceived of us before we were a hint in our parents’ minds (see Jer 1:5).

Jesus uses the word love eight times in the nine verses included in today’s Gospel reading (Jn 15:9-17).  How do we prove our love?  Jesus says, “keep my commandments.”  This is how a person’s joy is made complete, so that he may remain in God’s love.  Jesus goes on to say: “love one another as I love you.”  This is how we stay friends with Christ.  The words in the headline lead to His conclusion where He again issues the command to “love one another.”

Kempis and Jesus are on the same page (a good page to be on): God knew us and chose us from all eternity.  He comes to us — we have no power on our own to go to Him.  We recognize this in all humility.  We also acknowledge the Messiah’s mission for us: to do His will.  This is made perfect in love.  The Ten Commandments are our guideposts for this task (see Ex 20:1-17).  The first three commandments pertain to love of God; the concluding seven have to do with love of neighbor.  This is true wisdom: to love God above all things and, in turn, to view others as God views them.  This is, it hardly needs to be said, truly difficult, as well.  But with God’s grace all things are possible (see Mt 19:26).  Let us ask for this gift unceasingly.  In a world in which divisiveness, hate, and despair seem to have the upper hand, let us do our part to bring the unity, love, and joy of God.

“Lord, save us from gloomy saints,” has been attributed to the great mystic and master of the spiritual life, St. Teresa of Avila.  What a beautiful sentiment.  Being in right relationship with the Lord should be thrilling!  Bearing fruit, as appointed by Jesus for us to do, should render us ecstatic!  Spreading the Good News should be a joy (see here)!

To the One who gave us everything what else must we do but give it all back in spades.

After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’

For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. (Mt 25:19-21,29)

That is some great reward.

Willem de Poorter's 'Parable of the Talents' in the Narodni Galerie, PragueParable of the Talents by Willem de Poorter (1608-1668)

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