by Mrs Louise Zavone, Executive Secretary, Bishops Commission for Life, Family & Public Engagement, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
To follow the example of Christ we are challenged to love others genuinely, sacrificially and unconditionally.
“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. … So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.” (1 John 4:7-12,16)
In our world ‘love’ is often given individualistic meaning and significance and can easily be viewed as a worldly pleasure that can distract us from the love of God. For Christians, the word ‘love’ is one of action and describes God and our response to God as believers.
When we focus on the Scriptures, every action of Christ was done to give honour to God, with the ultimate gift of himself to the Father on the cross. As believers we are challenged in our everyday lives to love like God loves us, genuinely, sacrificially and unconditionally.
This type of love happens in our families on a daily basis when we choose to love even though we have so many other options available to us as human beings.
My mother was a woman who was totally devoted to her family and to her love of God. As it is for many, she endured many hardships during her 85 years of life. My father was diagnosed with a brain tumour and died when he was 44, leaving Mum to raise 5 children under the age of 16. Mum didn’t give up on God at this time but rather used God’s love to ensure that she gave her love genuinely and unconditionally to her children, her family and her Church community. We were wealthy in love!
In the last years of my elderly mother’s life, this love of God was made very clear to me, especially as Mum suffered from dementia. This beautiful and amazing woman who had given us her love now needed her children to show God’s love to her in her care. She had shown us how to love genuinely and how to love without expecting anything in return. Being able to do this was the greatest privilege that we could ever have imagined.
One night as I was sitting beside her hospital bed after she had had another fall and seemed very confused, she spoke these words to God with great clarity and sincerity:
“Let me praise you by shining on those around me.”
My mother knew she was close to being with her God but for those she loved, she asked only for God’s blessings. This is how my mother lived her entire life and this is how I know she was filled with God’s love.
Help me to know of your amazing love in my life.
Strengthen in me the ability to love like you love,
with genuine, sacrificial and unconditional love.
May I love everyone in you and for you,
praising you by my every action.
Watch Love is a Verb www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCt2_ci9bt8
Canberra Declaration Daily Prayer Points for October
- AWAKENING to Christ: Renewal in the Church and Revival in the Nation – with millions coming to Christ. John 3:16
- AWAKENING for Marriage: Renewal of marriages and restoration of marriage. Ephesians 5: 25 -32
- AWAKENING for Family: Renewal and healing for families. Isaiah 61:1
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