How do we know if we are true followers of Jesus? The real test is, do we love and care for one another? Love is the mark of the follower of Jesus. Love reaches out to others in understanding and compassion, in care and affirmation, in listening and service. The love that is in my heart influences how I treat people every day.
Love is the atmosphere we live in as followers of Jesus. How we care for one another and for our community will decide the quality of our prayer and worship. Those who love God will want to pray and prayer in turn will help us to be loving. When we think of those close to us, we want all to be well for them and we want them to have peace in their hearts and lives. We want them to have the best possible life they can.
A way of growing in love is to be grateful for what we already have. There are so many people who give to us in so many ways every day. People we work with, people we meet socially, people we play games with and people who serve the community all give to us. A short prayer at night to thank God for them is a lovely idea.
The world that we live in is full of very good and very loving people. But there is coldness and evil in our world also. People are constantly being hurt, abused and used. Part of loving is to care for people who are hurting and bring them healing. This is best achieved in ordinary ways by a helping hand. Also love has the power to transform even the most self-centered and cold heart. Jesus spoke lovingly to many and changed their lives. We can do the same. As Pope Francis said in a talk in January 2014, ‘The one who loves, gives to God and to others’.
From the Ennis Parish Newsletter – Adapted.