Love has Great Courage
Welcome back to the Practical Catholic.
Something that’s been tugging on my heart recently is how imperfect life is. Life has seen me ponder many a thing these past two weeks and something I keep thinking about is how Pope John Paul II once said in a series of lectures “Love has great courage and does not spare itself.” I think the thing that strikes me about this is the part where we begin to think on that and see that Love, when it is love rises to the occasion.
Since about last Friday, a term has come to mind that I think has affected me profoundly, and made me see that we’re never able to do as Pilate and wash our hands of situations. The Christian cannot wash their hands of the world, else-wise they have given themselves over to the leaven of the world. I keep reflecting on the parable of the good Samaritan and how reading it as if we are the poor beggar and Jesus is the Samaritan changes things in unimaginable ways. God comes to us, he picks us up and does not wash himself of us. God gets his hands dirty, so dirty in fact that they become pierced for us.
So too the Christian must enter into the pain of God and stand beside Christ and cast themselves into the dark chasm of the world’s pain.
I say all that to say, ethics is a big discipline in the world of today. My friends and I care about who we work for and the impact of the companies we represent on the world around us. We have come to count the cost when it comes to whom we wish to serve with our talents.
On Friday I was speaking with a friend who was looking into a film and advertising position with an oil company. My friend told me he was concerned about the impact of this company on the environment and how that might affect his morale, and his ethical place in the world.
It was then that it hit me like a ton of bricks, we all face various levels of ‘ethical overhead’. For the small business people, you know what I mean, the basic daily cost of affording to keep a business open. We all face the same thing in our lives, being that we live in a fallen world, we represent masters who are not always as virtuous, charitable or humane as we are.
There is always a cost to being in the world but not of it, and that cost is not at all easy or comfortable. But, nevertheless, it remains our responsibility to engage the world, with their currency, but on our terms. I think is what Jesus might hve meant when he said “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.” He wasn’t saying…’ten percent belongs to God, 12 percent to Caesar, and the rest is yours…’I believe He was saying something closer to: “Whatever it is that Caesar wants, give it to him. But, as you do, remember God, whom you fear, and know Caesar is simply a man.”
When we enter the world we have pains, sorrows and afflictions, because life is not yet perfected. However, as we learn to share in the kingdom by paying the ethical overhead and still being virtuous, we’re furthering the cause of the kingdom. It is impossible to be a good Christian and never get your hands dirty in the crap of life.
Look at Jesus.
Love has great Courage. That’s part of the wonder of the gospel. The love of Christ, shed abroad in our hearts fills us with this same courage to never spare ourselves. Love has great courage, and it does not fear affliction on behalf of the Beloved. Love has great courage, and it is our responsibility to reflect that same courage into our hopeless world.
Anyways, my encouragement the Lenten season is, get your hands dirty, be the poor beggar who cries out ‘Son of David!’ Remember, it’s a time to come back to the heart of things. As Pope John Paul II said, “Be not Afraid!” Lent is a time for love of God and neighbor, and that love gives us hope and courage. As Oral Roberts said “Go into every person’s world,” You can’t exactly do that without scuffing up your Sunday best from time to time.