Thursday of the 23rd Week in Ordinary Time - Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
1 Corinthians 10:14-22; Luke 6:43-49
Simply put, today’s readings tell us it is not enough to simply listen to Jesus’ words or even to be in relationship with Jesus. No, to be a disciple, one must act. One must respond. I submit, that when we are in a real love relationship with Jesus, the response can come naturally. We must be intentional but the response will flow out of the relationship. I say this because of the phrase “for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.” This is not just saying that good fruit comes from a good tree. It is also an indication to me that when the heart is full, action can’t help but come forth. St. Ignatius understood this. Consider for a moment The Contemplation on the Love of God from the Spiritual Exercises. Ignatius asks us to consider the following four points. (excerpt below from David L. Fleming S.J.)
God’s gifts to me. God creates me out of love and desires nothing more than a return of love on my part. So much does God love me that even though I turn away and make little response, this Giver of all good gifts continues to be my Savior and Redeemer. All my natural abilities and gifts, along with the gifts of Baptism and the Eucharist and the special graces lavished upon me, are only so many signs of how much God our Lord shares divine life with me and wants to share ever more.
God’s self-giving to me. God not only gives gifts to me, but literally gifts me with the fullness of divine life in Jesus. God’s only Son is not only the Word in whom all things are created, but also the Word who becomes flesh and dwells with us. Jesus gives himself to me so that his body and blood become the food and drink of my life. Jesus pours out upon me his Spirit so that I can cry out “Abba, Father.” God loves me so much that I become a dwelling place or a temple of God - growing in an ever deepening realization of the image and likeness of God which is the glory shining out of human creation.
God’s labors for me. God loves me so much, even entering into the very struggle of life. Like a potter with clay, like a mother in childbirth, or like a mighty force blowing life into dead bones, God labors to share divine life and love. God’s labors are writ large in Jesus’ passion and death on a cross in order to bring forth the life of the Resurrection.
God’s unceasing giving and gifting. God’s love shines down upon me like the light rays from the sun, or God’s love is poured forth lavishly like a fountain spilling forth its waters into an unending stream. Just as I see the sun in its rays and the fountain in its waters, so God pours forth a sharing in divine life in all the gifts showered upon me. God’s delight and joy is to be with the ones called God’s children – to be with me. God cannot do enough to speak out and show love for me – ever calling and inviting me to a fuller and better life, a sharing in divine life.
At the end of each consideration the question is “What is my love response to such love that is given?” His suggestion is the Suscipe.
Take, Lord, and receive
all my liberty, my memory,
my understanding, my entire will—
all that I am and possess.
You have given all this to me.
I now return it all to you.
It is yours now.
Use these gifts according to your will.
Give me only your love and your grace.
That is enough for me, and all that I desire.
- St. Ignatius, The Spiritual Exercises
By Amy Hoover