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"At His Feet: Devoted Love"

 

"Relentless as the nether world is devotion; its flames are a blazing fire" (Songs 8:6B)

 

          In Luke 10:39 we see Mary of Bethany seated in the presence of Jesus--"at his feet"--with an interior disposition of "devoted love", "keeping [her] eyes fixed on Jesus" (Heb.12:2). In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells his disciples, "No one can serve two masters. He will…be devoted to one" (Mt. 6:24). The word, devotion, means 'to give or apply one's time, attention or self entirely to a particular activity, pursuit, cause or person, with strong affection or attachment. We see, then, that authentic devotion is both entire and particular! God is the fierce, Devoted Lover--the Covenanted Spouse--of humanity. In Jesus we behold the enfleshment of this Covenant Love in his intense, exclusive devotion to the Father and through his total offering for humanity. Might we call it, "Incarnational ferocity"?! Fiercely devoted, hence, fiercely driven, Jesus desires to continue to live out his singularly fixed gaze upon the Father (and his driven desire to fulfill the Father's divine design for humanity) through each of us.

 

          The Lord speaks to us through the Prophet Jeremiah:

 

"I remember the devotion of your youth, how you loved me as a bride, following me in the desert, in a land unsown"

(Jr. 2:2)

 

We have a God Who remembers. True love does not forget: "I will never forget you!" (Is. 49:15). A devoted heart lives in perpetual remembrance and awareness of the beloved. Jesus is the enfleshment of God's remembrance for us: "For he has remembered his promise of mercy" (Luke. 1:54) towards sinful humanity. Every Eucharist celebrates God's remembrance of humanity through the merciful handing over of His Son for our salvation: "Do this in memory of me" (Luke 22:19) Jesus says at the Last Supper: Devoted Love remembers! God has given us a share in his devotion through the Gift of the Holy Spirit: "He will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you" (John 14:26). This is important for intercessors, for the strong, holy affection and attachment of devotion directs our hearts everyday through the  promptings, stirrings, and inspirations of the Holy Spirit.

 

          At all times God remembers who each of us really is in our true identity as son or daughter. He calls each heart to renewal--back to its "bridal beginnings"--when the heart was fixed completely on God in a committed, covenant closeness and fidelity, a "spousal union", with all the passion and energy found in nuptial newness and nuptial nearness, where one is vowed perpetually to the Other whom one belongs to exclusively. Each heart is called to be like a "bride with eagles' wings", unafraid to pioneer into 'virgin territory', willing to risk entering the unknown with a known and cherished Lover.

 

          The Lord desires to lead each of us into the "desert of renewal" first of all in order to speak to our "spousal heart", to lift the veil so the heart can receive the truth of his Spirit-filled word that changes us to be more like him (see Hosea. 2:16): "They are pure and follow the Lamb wherever he goes" (Rev. 14:4. N.A.B., 1970 trans.)= "They are pure (chastity) and follow (obedience) the Lamb (zeal) wherever (poverty) he goes". We might speak here of devotional chastity, devotional obedience, devotional poverty, and devotional zeal. Jesus wants each of us to share in his own chaste Love, his obedience to the Father, his willful poverty and his zeal for the salvation of souls.

 

          True, holy devotion to God and humanity abides in a heart that has moved beyond the "dating" phase of weighing possible options to choose from--non-committal--and not fully waging war interiorly on worldliness and the flesh within oneself. Devotion, rather, is about 'this one only'! One must learn--be trained--to let go of, to die to, other choices. There is a dying implicit to a growth in true devotion. This is part of the purpose of the "desert experience" that Jesus leads us into. He wants to capture our hearts completely. He knows how to "love us to death":

 

"For the road that leads to salvation is a person, Jesus, the Christ. It is he whom the disciple follows, to whom he attaches himself. The disciple prefers Him to each and every person, "indeed his very self"…It is a radical and total choice that involves all of one's life and being" (Days of the Lord, Vol. 6, 23rd Sunday; pp. 204-205).

 

 

Questions:

1) Where am I being invited to a growth in devotion in my life?

2) Are there any elements in my life that are keeping me from a more devoted love of God?

 

Scriptures:

Dt. 6:5; 1 Kings 8:61; Songs 8:6B; 1 Tim. 3:16; 1 Tim. 4:7-8

 

 

"TWO-ZERO-ONE-SEVEN, TIME TO STORM HEAVEN"

 

 

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