The heart and soul of the Christian message, the Christian life is this: Jesus said to his disciples: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love” (Jn15:9).
To be a Christian is to acknowledge and live out who we have been created by God to be, which is a living, craving, hunger and desire to be one with God and each other, and this is true for the atheist and the mystic alike. We have been created by love, to be loved and to love, to belong, to be a part of, to be in communion.
Dehumanization, hatred, violence, polarization, and division are contrary to the message of the Gospel. Jesus has received the love of his Father and has been sent to share that same love with us. We are to then receive his love and to share it, to be loved and to love in return. This means we are to resist the temptation of what St Augustine called, “Incurvatus in se” to turn or curve in on oneself. This is the ego drama, the living of a life exclusively inward for oneself, instead of a going out of oneself to will the good of the other as other.
To curve in upon our self may be appealing to us because we feel we are in control, we feel safe and secure, free of risk. Yet, this act of turning within cuts us off from the source of meaning and joy in our life. When we surrender our control and walk away from the ego drama, the path of exclusive, self gratification and self centeredness, and instead embrace the theodrama, God’s love, his will for our life, we will experience meaning, fulfillment and joy.
Christianity is about building, supporting and sustaining healthy relationships grounded not in what can we get for ourselves from another, but empowering, encouraging, loving and willing the good of each other. This begins with a smile, a thoughtful or kind word, a listening ear, a gift of sacrifice for another. Let us go out from ourselves today and love each person we meet as Jesus has loved us, such that his joy may be in us and our joy might be complete.
Photo: Rejecting incurvatus in se, curving in on themselves and readying to love, to will the good of each other!