Have you ever experienced the Lord in His persistence when trying to make a message clear to you? Well, I have had this experience and it can be quite unbelievable when it is happening! I was asked to write St. Catherine of Siena’s study and I excitedly agreed to it because I have always had a special place in my heart for Dominicans.
Little did I know that the Lord wanted me to write about something completely different when it came to St. Catherine of Siena. Before I begin with this message, I do think it is important to have a little background on her. St. Catherine grew up in the Italian city of Siena and even as a little girl she had a special devotion to Jesus. This love for Jesus continued to grow as she grew in years to the point of giving her life to Him and bearing the same wounds Christ has in the form of stigmata. Her love and devotion to Jesus lead the way for the holiness of many men and women after her.
This message that the Lord has asked me to write about has actually come up at multiple times in my life this past week. A bible study that I chanced on going to and my lesson to teach in faith formation both hit home on this message. Little did I know that the Lord wanted to speak to my heart the message I needed to hear the most. In John 13:34 Jesus says, “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”
In this new commandment Jesus is telling us to take our love even further than loving our neighbor as ourselves. He is commanding us to love one another as He loves us. I don’t know about you, but this is not something that comes easily to me. I find myself wanting others to love me or do something for me purely because I love them or did something for them.
This love that I am talking about is a self-seeking love. It is a love that seeks to fulfill our desires and not the desires of God and others. God does not love in a self-seeking manner. Instead, He loves in a self-giving manner that loves us simply because we are who we are.
This kind of love has started to manifest itself in my life and I am really struggling to love in the way God commands us to. I am a newly graduated college student who is teaching music at my first ever school. I do not exactly know why I started teaching, but I know that it is a path that the Lord has gently been leading me down. I think one of the reasons I am supposed to be a teacher is because of this kind of love.
I am challenged every single day to love as God loves me in the classroom. Every day I have to love my students without expecting anything in return. I have to love them not for what they can do for me, but simply because they are children of God. This is so hard and St. Catherine of Siena understood how hard it is to love in this way! She understood it so much that she discovered how impossible it is to love God as He loves us and to love one another as God loves us. She knew that the only way we can love in this way is if God loves our neighbor through us. We must wake up each and every day and ask God to love through us. Give Him your thoughts, words, and actions and ask Him to show you how to love as He loves us.
Reflect: What message is the Lord trying to speak to you today? How are you being called to love others as God loves you today?
Act: Give the Lord all that you are today and ask Him to love through you and in you.