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Saint Rita of Cascia, Religious
Do you love me? (John 21:15)
In this moving, intimate scene, Jesus gives his final instructions to Peter, his close friend and the one he has named to lead his Church. So what important rules and principles does he lay down?
Love. Rather than give a long list of dos and don’ts, Jesus simply asked Peter if he loved him—three times, in fact! He wanted Peter to understand that love for Jesus, not clever intelligence or heroic courage or resourceful inventiveness or anything else, was the most important thing.
Perhaps we can identify with Peter. So many people look to us. So many expect things of us. How can we possibly meet all their needs? How can we—with all of our shortcomings—reflect Christ to them? How can we—with our own inner wounds and limitations—find the wisdom and patience to care for the “sheep” in our lives? How? How? How?
Love. In the midst of our questions, worries, and concerns, Jesus asks only one question: “Do you love me?” That’s all that matters. Everything else flows from that one question.
Don’t worry if you have a hard time answering, either. If you slow down your mind and quiet your heart, you’ll discover that yes, you really do love him. We all long for his peace, his presence, and his assurance. We all know, deep in our hearts, that he loves us unconditionally—and it’s that love from him that begets love in us.
Do you love Jesus? Yes, you do! Let that love stir in you. Let it encourage you. Let it teach you how to share love with the people around you. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to have all the answers. You don’t have to be the most courageous, the most compassionate, or the most anything. That’s Jesus’ job! All you have to do is love the Lord, and that love will shine out of you. It will guide you and encourage you, and it will warm the hearts of the people around you.
So don’t worry about all the shouldn’ts and shoulds of following Jesus or witnessing to the gospel. Just try your best to remain in his love. He’ll take care of the rest.
“Jesus, keep me rooted in the simplicity of your love.”
Acts 25:13-21; Psalm 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20
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