What does it mean to be a Christian? Pope Benedict XVI said that there is one main thing at the heart of the Christian faith, and that is “to know God as the one who loves us.”
Do you know that God loves you?
I mean it. Pause for a second and reflect on that question.
Do you ever sit back and reflect on the fact that, not only did the Lord live and die for the salvation of the world, but He did it for you? Personal you.
He had you in mind when He loved unto death. He had your own good and your happiness in His heart.
St. Teresa reminds us that Jesus spoke two very significant words when He hung on the cross, and those words were “I thirst.”
According to Mother, Jesus wasn’t speaking of his physical thirst, but rather, He was referencing the longing deep within His heart “for our love, our affection, that intimate attachment to Him, and that sharing of His passion.”
Ultimately, when Christ uttered the words “I thirst,” He was crying out for your love.
When confronted with this reality, we must reflect on what this means for our lives. Do we just rest in the fact that Jesus loves us and carry on with our lives the same way we’ve been living?
Well, I suppose we can, because God has given us free-will to do as we please. But if we stay stagnant when we have encountered Christ’s love allowing Him to wash away and fade into the background with all the noise, distractions, and fleeting pleasures our world has to offer us, we will be missing the heart of it all. We will be missing the transformative power that comes in having an intimate and personal relationship with the God of Love. It’s a power that illuminates our being, and it’s the kind of power that can transform us into saints and lift us up to the heights of heaven.
Whether you acknowledge it or not, there is one thing for certain: your soul is thirsting for Christ’s love, as He thirsts for you.
That restlessness that you feel–that stirring in your heart for more—that is your soul’s longing for Christ. There is absolutely nothing on this earth that will quench this yearning, because as St. Augustine so perfectly said it, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in God.”
Because you were created to share in His love.
You were made for communion with the Lord.
This is why we cannot remain where we are when we encounter the love of God. True and authentic love isn’t focused on the self—it extends outward towards the other. In any human relationship, this means that love is willing the good of the other. In our relationship with God, this means looking to the eternal, and gazing upon Him with whole hearts, full trust, willing obedience, and total dependence as He gives Himself to us. This is what the personal encounter with the Lord is made of—a reciprocal flow from One Heart to the other.
When we experience a personal encounter with the Lord, something profound should happen: His love should change us. When we respond in faith to the life that Christ calls us to live, when we follow Him closely and let go of the things we place in front of Him, and when we allow His grace to wash over us, we start becoming who we were created to be!
Some questions for reflection:
-How have I experienced Christ’s love personally? How does Christ show His love to me?
-In what ways has Christ’s love transformed my life? Are there areas I’m still holding back from Him?
-What are some things I need to let go of, in order to make room for Him in my life?
Call to action:
Follow Mother Teresa’s advice, and go to an adoration chapel or place yourself in front of the tabernacle before or after Mass. Reflect on Jesus’s words, spoken directly to you. As Mother said,
“Don’t let anything disturb you. Hear your own name and ‘I Thirst.’ I thirst for purity, I thirst for poverty, I thirst for obedience, I thirst for that wholehearted love, I thirst for that total surrender. Are we living a deeply contemplative life? He thirsts for that total surrender.”
Think about these things in front of Jesus, and make room in your heart for His love to change you.
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