If we truly love one another as Christ commanded us, that is, in the way he himself has loved us, (cfr. Jn 13, 34) then we have to love everyone in such a way that we love and serve them more than what we think they deserve. That is the attitude to have.
This is how Christ himself loved each one of us. He gave himself completely to us, offering his life on the cross. And do you think we deserve that kind of love? Definitely not. In fact, we deserve the opposite — extreme punishment. But, no. Christ instead, out of love for us, bore all our sins in order to reconcile us to God from whom we came and to whom we belong.
This is the kind of love that we should aim at having. We have to stop calculating and just learn to give ourselves completely to God and to others gratuitously, without counting the cost and without expecting any return.
And that’s because we first of all received the greatest gift from God freely, and that is God himself in Christ through the Holy Spirit. We have to give ourselves to God and to others as well. We need to be a gift also to God and to the others. “Freely you have received, freely you have to give,” Christ told the apostles. (Mt 10, 8)
We have to train ourselves in this direction, and teach our heart and mind to give ourselves completely gratuitously, more than what in our calculation others deserve. This, of course, is not going to be an easy task. But we can always count on God’s grace. All that is needed is the effort to do our part.
Yes, we have to give due consideration to the requirements of justice and prudence. But let us never forget that no matter how smart we are, we can never fathom the full requirements of these ideals with our human powers alone. Only God’s grace can do that for us.
And this grace will show us that at the end of the day, we have to give ourselves gratuitously to God and others, regardless of the consequences insofar as justice and prudence are concerned.
Thus, we have to be ready to suffer, just like Christ had to suffer to save us. Imagine, Christ who is already God. He had to suffer and die just to save us. He could not solve in a human way the problems created by our sin and malice. He just bore all our sins by dying on the cross.
We have to have the same attitude of Christ with respect to loving. We have to love one another beyond what we think they deserve. Yes, we will try to look for solutions and correspond to the requirements of justice. And we will do this with the best of our efforts. But we also know that all these efforts will never give us perfect solutions to our problems and answers to our questions. We just have to learn to suffer.
Thus, Christ told us very clearly. “If you want to follow me, deny yourself and carry the cross…” (Mt 16, 24) Christ has shown us the way. We just have to bear the burden with him, so that our suffering and eventual death will lead us to the resurrection with Christ also. As St. Paul assured us, “if we died withs Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” (Rom 6, 8)
Everyday, let us do acts of love in our usual dealings with others. We may appear to be taken advantage of, but let us not mind it. Our concern should simply be to love by serving and giving ourselves to others without counting the cost and without expecting any return./WDJ