Sunday, May 18, 2008

My First and Only Love

“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 
I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary.
But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 
Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent." 
-- Revelations 2: 2-5, ESV

 These words pierced my heart when I read them.  Verse 4 came to me on Monday night when I accompanied five officemates who were invited to Lingkod Makati's Christian Life Program.  I was sitting silently listening to the most basic, yet most important, of all talks - God's Love, given by the most familiar of all speakers - Ted.  I was not prepared to hear God speak to me that night.  I did not even want to listen.

But the word persisted.  I sought my bible and read it again and again.  The next morning's prayer time, I heard the Lord telling me to live in Love, and not in Fear.  My reaction was to be afraid - see how stiff-necked I am, just like the Israelites in today's reading from Exodus 34.

As if saying "Now that I have your attention...", God spoke through my officemate-sister.  She approached me at work and said, "The Lord wanted me to tell you that He is pursuing you because He loves you, not because He wants you to serve Him."

That sent me running to the Blessed Sacrament.  I asked what God wanted me to do and why He was calling me again.  I thought I was doing okay - serving Him in the parish, attending Bible study, keeping my prayer time and the sacraments, seeking spiritual guidance from priests and a nun, serving my family, and working hard.  I thought that was enough fervor.

Of course I was different when I first gave my life to the Lord.  That was many years back.  I was in college and still full of myself.  I gave all of my life to the Lord after law school, and that was in Lingkod.  I breathed Lingkod.  Lingkod was my Link to God.  I gave up friends, hobbies, dreams, and opportunities.  I was so on fire that it did not matter.  All that passion broke my heart at some point but I kept on.  Eventually I had to move on, for others' sake and my own.

So I do not understand.  I am probably being dense.  At the sight of true love, I freeze.  Who can fathom God's love?  Whose heart is big enough to receive it?  Whose hands are ready to welcome it?  To welcome Him?

If this is about Love, and not Service, then God is speaking in a language I do not speak.  I have much to learn.  I will go on a half-day of prayer later at the Cenacle.  I will take lessons on loving.

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