Monday, November 22, 2010

St. Leo the Great Unplugged

This morning's Office of Reading's sermon by Pope St. Leo the Great is just what I struggled with guests and on a post in discussing varying degrees of success in remaining in His love and as key to living in Christ in the present moment. 

For the man who loves God it is sufficient to please the one he loves; and there is no greater recompense to be sought than the loving itself; for love is from God by the very fact that God himself is love.  The good and chaste soul is so happy to be filled with him that it desires to take delight in nothing else.  For what the Lord says is very true: 'Where your treasure is, there also will your heart be....'

Yesterday's discussion included the comment that if one remains in His love, even if touching upon the fringe of His garment, other interests will lose appeal.  The things of this world will pass away. Remaining in His love will prevail as desire in His love will grow.  But one disagreed and said that there will always be other interests that are loved and remain in the thoughts.  Not so, I countered.  Christ's love will reign as well as His will and His truth, but the one remaining in His love will participate in tasks and interests from within Christ's love, by His love, and through His love.

'For whatever a man sows this too will he reap,' and each man's gain matches his toil; and where delight and enjoyment are found, there the heart's desire is attached.  Now there are many kinds of wealth and a variety of grounds for rejoicing; every man's treasure is that which he desires.  If it is based on earthly ambitions, its acquisition makes men not blessed but wretched.

'But those who enjoy the things that are above and eternal rather than earthly and perishable, possess an incorruptible, hidden store of which the prophet speaks: 'Our treasure and salvation have come, wisdom and instruction and piety from the Lord; these are the treasures of justice.'  Through these, with the help of God's grace, even earthly possessions are transformed into heavenly blessings; it is a fact that many people use the wealth which is either rightfully left to them or otherwise acquired, as a tool of devotion...'

Pope St. Leo goes on to give example of giving superfluous wealth to support the poor and place the riches where the heart is, in love of Christ, His love of the poor.  By this we amass imperishable riches, spiritual ones, and the poor gain as well.

We have here the discussion of possessions and of being possessed either by the world and its allures or by the love of Christ, remaining in His love, living in Christ always.  An example arose of someone wanting to remain in Christ's love yet cannot give up watching a football game for a few minutes when someone calls to discuss, what else?  Remain in My love.  Without castigating, we do have an example of the struggle in small detail of earthly life, the degrees by which we discern the depth of our desire to remain in Christ's love, living in Him in every present moment.

I was asked what is wrong with watching football?  Nothing is wrong with it, except when the need to watch possesses us, especially when there is something more directly connected with the actualization of Christ's love in the offering.  Of course, there always is something more of Christ if we consider each step in life as one toward heaven or one toward hell, or dreadfully stymied at standstill.

So it was said that perhaps the football affeccionado figured he could talk about Jesus' love with the person another time, later on.  Well maybe, but what if either of them died before the conversation could take place?  Or what if the other decided to not bother speaking of it to him, considering the inability to sacrifice but minutes of a televised game by one who otherwise professed eagerness to remain in Christ's love?

It is a trifling point.  However, in honesty we recognize ourselves in similar present moments with such choices to be made.  If we desire to remain in His love, His love will supersede all else.  Yes, we will function in our daily lives; but it will be from the vantage of remaining in His love, and our choices will predicate the degree of our dedication and desire.  Being perfected in His love includes on-going fine-tuning by degree and desire.  If we seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, all these things shall be added unto us. 

Do we truly want to live in Christ in every present moment?  While on this earth, how many present moments does God grant us? What better place and time to begin than in remaining in His love, now, in this present moment?  How much do we desire to possess His love and be possessed by Him?  May zeal for His house consume us....We may be scorned by those who scorn God...but those who love God's name shall dwell there.

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