By: Sister Immaculata, OCD
Read Part 1 Here!
Read Part 2 Here!
I believe that Jesus is counting heavily on us to treat others with His patience and kindness, especially in our families and in our work relationships. This is where we’ll be tempted the most. I think Jesus wants to use us as a bridge of healing in our wounded world. As we develop these interpersonal virtues, the love of Jesus will flow through us to others. Emotional wounds heal as we take time to listen compassionately with genuine personal regard for the other. Yes, wounds melt away when they are exposed to love. Have you experienced this? Has Christ’s love been instrumental in healing someone else through you?
This sounds wonderful, but we all probably have someone in our life that is driving us a little bit crazy with irritation. Well, I would like to introduce to you to a challenge. I’ll call it the ‘Whatever’ challenge. It connects with Jesus’ saying, ‘Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do that to me.’ Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta simplified it to these five words that you can count on your fingers: You did it to Me.
Now reflect, do I really take this teaching to heart and treat others as if they were Jesus? The ‘whatever’ challenge goes like this: Just choose one difficult person, that person that tests your patience on a regular basis, and for a period of one month, see Jesus in that person and love Him with the interpersonal virtues. Let there be a steady flow of love from you to them, despite the ‘distressing disguise’. You see, in this wounded person, it’s like Jesus is waiting inside them for someone to understand, to listen, to look on them with genuine concern. He is waiting to be consoled and healed.
Life is like this… we live for a short time on this earth, then we die and we come to our judgement, the review of our life and how we have chosen to live. In that judgment we will know the full impact of our thoughts, words and actions on every person, in every individual situation of every day. We will feel how we have made others feel. We will see how we responded in love and compassion to the needs of others. However, we will also see the times we have misjudged and we will feel intense remorse when we realize how we have failed the Lord, how we have failed to love. We will see the ripple effect of our negative responses in contrast to what the Lord had hoped and planned for. (This is from St. John of the Cross’ quote “In the evening of life, we will be judged by love.”)
Let’s make a resolution now to live in such a way today so that we will have fewer regrets and more peace when we must give an account of our lives. Let’s make sure that when we come to the end of our life that we don’t suddenly realize that we have failed in what really matters. May it be said of us that we could be recognized as Christians by the way that we loved, a Christ-like merciful love that is patient, gentle, kind, humble and compassionate.
By: Sister Immaculata, OCD