By Valeria Barreto, Franciscan University
In a world full of chaos, it can be hard to know what to do. This year has brought a lot of trials to the world and it has been easy to get overwhelmed by it all. Many times, I have had to stop and think through that inner voice that asks, “What can I do?” A sense of discomfort and uneasiness frequently creeps in, urging me to take some sort of action. Discomfort – yes, that discomfort. That discomfort that can and should be worked through every day.
Many may be wondering, like me, “What should I do? What can I do? What is the right thing to do?” And to answer these questions simply – the Christian is called to love.
This action, this decision to love is not easy. To love truly and freely takes a daily and intentional effort. Love is not prepackaged perfectly in a political party or growing movement. It is not always found in the everyday media or even in some teachings or mindsets we have been taught all our lives. Love is found and begins in the heart, especially the meek and humble heart close to the Lord.
One of my favorite passages is Mark 12: 28-34. A scribe asks Jesus which commandment is the first we should follow – the most important in a sense. Jesus replies, “…you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Immediately Jesus points us toward the most important direction we should focus on, our Lord, and simply encourages us to love. Specifically, to love with everything we have and everything we are. Jesus then continues with the second commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
While a lot of us strive our best to bring the message of the Gospel to the world every day, I feel that we sometimes forget to examine how we are doing it. Are we doing it with love? Are we doing it with pride? Are we doing it with a sense of righteousness? A desire to simply correct and firmly convert? While there’s nothing wrong with being passionate about spreading the Gospel and striving to evangelize those around us, it would be good to check that passion from time to time, and be sure it is coupled with charity, and true love for the Lord.
What does loving, the way Jesus is talking about, look like? How is it possible to love through these difficult times? How can we be charitable towards one another, despite our beliefs, differences, and even disagreements? To love is a big task! Yet it can be done in little ways.
Little daily actions such as sharing a smile with those we pass, offering help and support to those that need it, offering up little sacrifices, thoughts, and prayers, going out of our way to make someone’s day better, any little thing that is done from the heart, this is love. Small daily actions such as these are what count, for eventually they grow to be big actions. Living our lives the way Jesus would have is a helpful way to focus on what we can and should do. I’ll be honest, some days I completely fail at loving the way I should. But what counts is that “striving” attitude every Christian should build. That desire to learn, to grow, to love.
As we continue into the second half of this year, let us not become overwhelmed by the chaos of the world. Let us strive to live simply, fully, and totally for the Lord, focused on loving Him and focused on loving others. As we build this ability to love the way the Lord did, maybe we will find that those goals we have will be fulfilled, the way the Lord wants to fulfill them. If we mess up and fail at loving the way we should, let us not become discouraged but focus on that “striving” attitude and get back up. Let us choose everyday to love the way Jesus did. Let us simply love, and then love more.
Edited by: Christopher Centrella