Quest to Love

“So I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come”  

I read this verse from the perspective of the disciples. They had been following Jesus for three years, they had stepped out way beyond their comfort zones, seen, heard and experienced things that were life-changing. They literally gave up their lives to follow Him, to spend all their time with Him. I can imagine the personal relationship they would have created, relying on Him, trusting Him and enjoying his presence.

 A sudden sense of loss, sadness and fear fills me as I empathise for the apostles; Jesus is leaving, and they cannot come. I am very familiar with goodbyes. People have come into my life, whom I have quickly grown to love, trust, and in a sense ‘follow.’ Some of them have left my life just as quickly as they entered. I have also been on the opposite end. I have been the one leaving, saying goodbye to my friends and family, and moving on to a new adventure. I am considerably people-orientated, goodbyes always have an effect on me: I miss my friends, I long to be with them, and to love them.

So as I read this gospel I ask myself, do I long for Jesus like I long for my friends? He is the one man who changed my life for eternity, the one alone whom I can completely trust, and the only one who loves me unconditionally. Whilst I never got to meet Him while He was on the earth in human form, I have the opportunity to meet him every day in prayer, and even greater through the Eucharist. Is He the first one I turn to in my longing and despair, or do I wait until all else is exhausted before I turn to Him?

“Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him.” 

My love of Eucharistic Adoration has grown vastly over the last year. In the same way I enjoy spending time with my friends, I enjoy spending time with Jesus, simply being in His presence. I sit in front of what appears to be a piece of unleavened bread, but is really the greatest treasure in the universe: the true living presence of Christ. In front of Him I am satisfied. I do not long for anything else; I know there is no greater love than this.

“As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

God calls me out of this place of peace and fulfillment and leads me out into the world. He calls me to share the love that He gives me with others. It sounds simple: I love being around people, I love caring for people, and I love to make people happy, but as I reflect on the way Jesus loved, I realise that He is talking about a different kind love. He not only went out of his way to love the marginalised and oppressed, but He was not afraid to challenge those around him to step out of their comfort zones. He didn’t just love to make people happy and comfortable; He loved for the goal of eternal life. Jesus shared God’s love. 

The more I discover the ways Jesus loved, the more I question myself - Do I love unconditionally? Do I love only to the point where I am comfortable? Do I let my own fears, self-doubt and pride get in the way of loving others? I know I will never be able to love as perfectly as Jesus did, but by choosing to spend time in prayer regularly, I am able to become more like Him every day. 

We Become what we love. Who we love shapes what we become. - St. Clare of Assisi

This reflection was written by Karen, who likes carrots and ice-cream, but not at the same time. She was recently converted to the fine art of napping, and will take any opportunity she gets to curl up on a comfy couch.