THE “now word” that has been simmering in my heart this past week — testing, revealing, and purifying — is a clarion call to the Body of Christ that the hour has come when she must love to perfection. What does this mean?
LOVING TO PERFECTION
Jesus did not just endure mockery and spittle, exclusion and derision. He did not only accept the scourging and thorns, the beatings and stripping. He did not remain upon the Cross for just a few minutes… but Love “bled out.” Jesus loved us to perfection.
What does this mean for you and me? It means that we are called to “bleed out” for another, to love beyond our limits, to give until it hurts, and then some. This is what Jesus showed us, this is what He taught us: that love is like a grain of wheat that must fall into the ground each and every time we are called to serve, sacrifice, and give. And when we love to perfection, only then… only then… does that grain of wheat bear fruit that lasts.
Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit… fruit that will remain… (John 12:24, 15:16)
The difference between grudgingly, half-heartedly giving ourselves is the difference between our love being human or divine. It is the difference between mediocrity and holiness. It is the difference between a reflection of the Sun or the Sun itself. It is the difference between passing through the moment or transforming the moment. The only kind of love that can transform the world around us is divine love — a love that is borne upon the wings of the Holy Spirit and capable of piercing even the hardest heart. And this is not the domain for a select few, for just those “untouchable” Saints we read about. Rather, it is possible each and every moment in the most mundane and familiar of things.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light. (Matthew 11:30)
Yes, the yoke of the Divine Will is to abandon ourselves completely in the littlest things, which is why the yoke is easy and the burden light. God does not ask 99.9% of us to a martyrdom like we see in the Middle East; rather, it is a martyrdom in the middle of our families. But we make it hard by our obstinance, laziness or selfishness — not because making the bed is difficult!
Loving to perfection. It is not only doing the dishes and sweeping the floor, but picking up even that last crumb when you are too tired to bend. It is changing a diaper for the fifth time in a row. It is not only bearing with your family members or social media “friends” when they are unbearable, but listening without cutting them off — and even then, responding peaceably and with gentleness. These are the things that made them Saints — not ecstasies and levitation — and these little ways are not beyond our reach then, either. They are happening every minute of the day — we just to fail to recognize them for what they are. Or our vanity gets in the way, and we see these acts as lacking in glamor, that don’t bring us attention, that don’t earn us praise. Instead, they will bleed us out, which often feels like nails and thorns, not praises and applause.
LOOK TO JESUS
Look to the Cross. See how Love bled out. See how Jesus — once followed by thousands — loved to perfection when the crowds were smallest, when the Hosannas were silent, when those He loved had all but abandoned Him. Loving to perfection hurts. It’s lonely. It tests. It purifies. It leaves us feeling at times like crying out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”Mark 15:34 But bleeding out for the other is what sets us apart, what consecrates us in truth, what causes the little seed of our sacrifice to bear supernatural fruit that will last for eternity.
It is precisely what prepares a glorious resurrection of grace in ways that only God fully knows.
Soon, very soon, the Body of Christ is going to enter into the most painful division ever. So this word to Love to Perfection is not only (most importantly) for our daily lives and challenges, but to also prepare us for the medical apartheid that is here and coming, and for great divisions that seem on the verge of exploding within the Church herself. But I want to leave that aside for now, to turn again to the present moment. For Jesus said:
The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. (Luke 16:10)
We are Our Lady’s Little Rabble, and she is preparing us now for the climax of 2000 years of history since her Son walked upon this earth. But she does so in the same way that she herself prepared to participate in the Passion of her Son: by sweeping the floor in Nazareth, making meals, changing diapers, washing clothes… yes, bleeding out in the little things… loving to perfection.
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matt 23:11-12)
I, then, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy
of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness,
with patience, bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the spirit
through the bond of peace… (Eph 4:1-3)
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.
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