19 May
Jn 15:12-17

Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.”

A wicked man, about to die, meets an angel at the gates to Hell.  The angel says to him: "It is enough for you to have done one good thing in your life, and that will save you.  Think hard.” The man remembers that one time, as he was walking through a forest, he saw a spider in his path and detoured so as not to step on it.  The angel smiles and a spider web comes down from the sky, allowing the man to ascend to Paradise.  Others among the condemned take advantage of the web, and begin to make the climb.  But the man turns on them and begins to push them off, fearing that the web will break.  At that moment, it breaks, and the man is once again returned to Hell. "What a pity," he hears the angel say.  "Your concern with yourself turned the only good thing you ever did into evil."

Jeanne Guyon, the 17th-century French mystic, wrote: "Those in the highest state of religious experience desire nothing except that God may be glorified in them by the accomplishment of His holy will.  Nor is it inconsistent with this, that saintly people possess that natural love which exists in the form of self-love.  But their natural love, which in its proper measure is innocent love, is so absorbed in the love of God, that it ceases, for the most part, to be a distinct object of consciousness; and practically and truly they may be said to love themselves in and for God.  Adam, in his state of innocence, loved himself, considered as the image of God and living for God.  So that we may either say, that he loved God in himself, or that he loved himself in and for God.  And it is because saintly people, extending their affections beyond their own limit, love their neighbour on the same principle of loving, namely, in and for God, that they may be said to love their neighbours as themselves. It does not follow that just because our self-love is lost in the love of God, that we are to take no care and to exercise no watch over ourselves.  None will be so seriously and constantly watchful over themselves as those who love themselves in and for God alone." 

The ego requires fight if it is to exist.  If it is not fighting it cannot exist.  So even when there is no one there to fight with, you fight with someone in your mind.  The ego isn’t in you; it is between you and another.  It is nothing in you.  In real love there is no ego, because there is no fight.  Yet are lovers not often fighting?  Yes.  Their being longs for love, their egos long for fight; so they do both, by turns.  


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This page gives a very brief commentary by Donagh O’Shea on the gospel reading for each day of the month. 


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