Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Gift of Remaining in His Love

We never really know where the Lord will take us in our prayer. Every morning at the BU Catholic Center, our FOCUS team, intern, and I spend an hour together in Eucharistic Adoration. This morning while I was praying with them, it occurred to me how blessed we--staff and students--are to live together in this community. This really is a house of formation in the Christian life.

What most struck me is how love shapes this place and our day to day lives together. All of the things that happen here are not simply programs that we put together or events that we devise in order to appear busy. They are all manifestations of a love that has been placed into our hearts by Christ. 

There are all of the "big" events like retreats, mission trips, bible studies, weekly discussions on Catholic topics, and things of that nature. More importantly, however, are the small things. Meeting up for a meal with one another, hanging out in the coffee room together, a couple of students meeting up to pray the rosary together, studying together, going to the movies together, and a thousand other small gestures of friendship. 

When I was praying today, the thought occurred to me that we are living here a true Catholic community. There are occasional disagreements and differences of opinion, but this is part of any community. But all of those things are totally transformed by the fact that we are all loving one another. 

While this love is something that "happens" to us--something given to us--it also requires a "yes" from us. We are drawn into something that we recognize as a gift from the Lord, but this gift comes with an expectation. It was Jesus himself who said, "Remain in my love."  To remain in His love is a choice for each one of us. This is what was so striking to me today as I prayed with our team. This house is filled with people who walk through our door every day and say, "Yes Lord, I choose to remain in your love." It's as though the very act of entering this building and being part of this community is a response to remain in the love of the Lord. 

It's difficult to put into words, but this community is like a treasure house of love. For years, the people who have worked here and belonged here have endowed this community with their love. Those who continue to pass through its doors are shaped by that history and are moved to invest their love here as well. 

Every Tuesday night, we have a spaghetti dinner at the Catholic Center. During the nice weather, we move our tables out onto the sidewalk. Last night, as I looked around and saw dozens of young men and women engaged in joyful conversations, welcoming newcomers, and sharing the life of faith with one another, I was really touched. This is what a Catholic community is. It is the visible presence of God's love in the midst of the world. This love is joyful and attractive. 

We sometimes think of Jesus' command to "Remain in my love" as being burdensome. But it really is a gift and a privilege. When we see what remaining in his love actually looks like, there's no place else we'd rather be. 

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