Domino servientes! Serving the Lord!
Saint Paul summarizes the entire gospel and Christian life in two words: Domino servientes! We serve the Lord! We serve the Lord and there is nothing less to do in this life, nor nothing more. It is our duty and it is our honor. It is our cross and it is our joy. The Saints have spent their lives serving Him with their whole heart. And they had great heart with the measure of love infused by God. Speaking to ‘Philothea’, who is every soul desiring to serve the Lord, Saint Francis de Sales says: “ Bear in mind, that it is certain that the heart of our dear Jesus saw yours from the tree of the Cross and loved it; and by this love obtained for it all the good things that you have ever had or will ever have.”
Here is the secret of our Christian life: a communication from heart to heart between ourselves and Jesus. In itself, it seems easy. It is a matter of love, which is something that comes natural to us. But the problem is that we don’t love as we should. Our love can fix on the wrong object or be in wrong proportion; it can be inordinate. A disorder can appear in our love, which prevents us from loving as Jesus Christ loves. Our love can be with dissimulation, which Saint Paul identifies in today’s epistle.
We need to be purified so that the perfect love can bloom in our souls. We have to go through the three conversions described by the spiritual authors. These conversions will lead us from the purgative way to the pure union with God. It will conduct us to the most perfect state of love. And purification is most necessary. It is necessary now or later in purgatory, because we have to be perfect in order to see God. Our love is still a “mercenary love” as Saint Catherine of Siena would say. “The imperfect soul, who still loves God of a mercenary love must do what Peter did after he denied Christ.”
Peter was still a mercenary when he denied Jesus. A mercenary works for himself but doesn’t serve a cause with his whole heart. He needed to be purified and that happened right after his fall: “And the Lord turning looked on Peter.” Peter was purified by the look of Jesus, which was his true conversion. “And Peter going out, wept bitterly.” As for Mary Magdelene, many sins are forgiven him, because he has loved much.
What should be the motive of our conversion? Father Garrigou-Lagrange answers that this motive is expressed by the supreme precept which has no limits: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind: and thy neighbor as thyself.” And Father Garrigou-Lagrange adds: “This precept asks for the love of God itself. It is not for our interest or our personal satisfaction. It says that we must love with all our strength, when the time of trial comes to us, so that we can love Him with all our mind when we will be fixed above the variations of sensibility and when we will become worshipers in truth and spirit.”
The object and the principle of charity is God. And because of our human nature which requires signs in order to understand, God became a man, the greatest sign of his love for us. Now Jesus Christ looks at us, as he did with Peter. At Cana, He performed his first miracle. It was during a weeding, the sign of the union between the Divine and human natures. Our Lady was there. She is now here with us, praying for that we can face the look of Jesus and open our hearts to his love. Only when we do this, we will be true servants of the Lord. May our blessed Mother obtain this grace for us.