Zealous love seeks the good of others.
When zeal "is intense, then, it impels the one who loves to act against
anything that might impede" its purpose: (St. Thomas Aquinas, quoted in Jesus
Living in Mary, p. 1273). Jesus stands fully-focused in the footgear of
zeal: Fully occupied with the Father, and hence, fully occupied with the
Father's perfect will for him. In the first chapter of The Gospel of St. Mark,
we witness Jesus after a day of full, intense kingdom ministry:
"Rising very early before dawn,
he left and went off to a deserted place; [There he was absorbed in
prayer] (N.A.B., 1970 translation of Mk. 1:35). Simon and those who were with
him pursued him and on finding him said, "Everyone is looking for you". He told
them, "Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For
this purpose have I come"
Jesus is a man "absorbed"!:
He is possessed exclusively by God, and preoccupied with the desire to please
the Father in all things. In the passage above, Jesus' response to Simon Peter
reveals both how attached he is to the Father--and how detached he is from
vanity and personal glory (It reveals his heart of zeal): "But it was for this
purpose that I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name" (Jn.
12:27). What a temptation it can be to revisit, to return to, yesterday's
"manna"--the place of yesterday's victory--in order to stroke one' ego--to
glorify self. Everything that Jesus does is done to glorify the Father! A
zealous heart seeks to glorify God alone, andnever chooses the "easy way" over the "narrow way". Everything in the
earthly life of Jesus is oriented towards the "hour" of his offering on the
cross for our sins. For intercessors, zeal is kept alive by the uncompromising
choice of, and love of, both the Father and the cross:
"The whole of Jesus' life was
an offering to the Father, "whose will he perfectly accomplished in all things.
His prayer must have been the expression of this offering and the renewal of
(Days of the Lord, Vol. V; p.
When Jesus predicts his passion for
the first time to his disciples, Peter tries to prevent him from going to
Jerusalem to die: "God forbid Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you"
(Mt. 16:22). Immediately Jesus responds, "Get behind me, Satan! You are an
obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do" (Mt.
16:23). How imperative it is for intercessors to not only have a "heart of holy
fire", but also to have the mind of Christ at all times: "Be renewed in the
spirit of your minds" (Eph. 4:23); and, "Brothers, stop being childish in your
thinking…in your thinking be mature" (1 Cor. 14.:20).At the "feet of Jesus", we learn the wisdom
and power of his "ground offensive": Thecross! At the "foot" of
the cross, we see the way that Jesus "reigns" as he subjects "everything under
his feet" (1 Cor. 15:27) for Love of the Father! St. Paul, sometime after his
own conversion, writes of this love, wisdom and power:
"May I never boast except in
the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified
to me, and I to the world"
In Genesis 3:15, after the "fall" of
Adam and Eve, God declares to the serpent: "I will put enmity between
you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers" (Gen. 3:15). There is
an element of enmity--deep-seated hatred--inherent to holy, Godly zeal; for,
Satan is an obstacle to God's perfect will. A true intercessor always loves the
human sinner yet hates the sin, seeks the good of the other and hates
evil. The passage continues: "He will strike at your head while you
strike at his heel" (Gen. 3:15). Again we notice the focus on "the
lowest place" where a humble, holy "heel of Zeal" is to "crush Satan under your
feet" (Rom. 16:20). Zeal for the salvation of souls will lead intercessors into
a "ground assault" against the enemy of our souls. Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and
Mary know how to form us as a potent "heel of zeal"--"foot" soldiers of
salvation, faithful unto death.Through
the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, intercessors share in the "Incarnational
ardor" of Jesus, the "passionate pulse" of the Lamb of God in the world: "For
the love of Christ impels us" (2 Cor. 5: 14A). "Zeal thrusts us to
continuous, tireless, and courageous commitment to the Reign of God in our
world" (JesusLiving in Mary. "Zeal", A. Rum-Mary Frith; p.,
1) Is there an area
ofpersonal weakness or a habit of sin
that keeps me from being more zealous for souls?
2) Where in my life
do my thoughts need more discipline?
Any scripture in the
teaching text; Is. 59:15B-17; Jn. 18:37; 2 Cor. 10: 4-5; Rev. 19:11-16