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A New Season
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"A New Season"

"No Greater Love"

          Jesus is the love of God en-fleshed in our human nature. Hence, his life--especially his self-offering on the cross--reveals in the most profound way both what true humanity looks like and what the essence of authentic human love is:

"The sacrifice of the cross--the laying down of one's life for others--is the definitive model for all genuine human love" (Pope John Paul II. General Audience, Aug. 31st, 1988).

Hence, this sacrificial love of Jesus on the cross is the definitive model for all effective intercessory prayer.

          I can better understand the words of Jesus spoken in John 15:13--"No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends"--when I first understand the profound love of the Father spoken of in John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only son." The word, so, means 'to a great extent'. The Father who so loves the world that he is pleased to give us Jesus; and Jesus who so loves the Father that he is pleased to offer himself on the cross for the world: Together, the love of the Father and the love of Jesus is the "no greater love" spoken of in John 15:13. The love of the Father and the love of the Son are one and the same love.

          In giving Jesus to the world with such a profound love, the Father reveals the greatness of His love: The love of the Father "who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all" (Rom. 8:32). Authentic love spares nothing--withholds nothing from the offering--but gives for the sake of the good of others. "For us men and for our salvation" the Father gave us Jesus as our "saving victim". Also, through Jesus the Father  reveals the magnitude of His love "for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8). It was while we were sunk in the darkened abyss—in the depravity of sin and death—that Jesus offered " the supreme example, the matchless exemplar of real love" on the cross (Thomas Dubay, S.M. Deep conversion /Deep Prayer, p. 70). At the "hour" of Jesus' death ransomed humanity offered no gesture or words of thanks neither to the Father nor to the Son!

          This most profound handing over of the Son by the Father (see John 3:16) expresses so perfect a love that St. John uses it as the very definition of love, itself:

 "In this is love: Not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10).

 So vast is the love of Jesus that it has transformed death forever:

"He was able to make of death an act of offering, an act of [supreme] love, an act of ransom and of liberation from sin and from death itself" (JP II, General Audience, Nov. 2, 1988).

           In the Gospel of John we are told that Jesus "loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end" (John 13:1). The cross is the summit of enduring love. As St. Paul reminds us, "Love...endures all things" (1 Cr. 13:1,7); and, "Love never fails" ( 1 Cr. 13:8). In the word, endure, one sees the word, end. The love of Jesus perseveres to the end: "For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross" (Heb. 12:2); "It is finished" (John 19:30):

 "The perfect picture of genuine love is this same Lord on the cross. When we love as he loved us, we have a deep prayer life" (Thomas Dubay, S.M. Prayer Primer: Igniting a Fire Within, p. 167). 

Questions:

1)   Where do I still need growth in order to love as Jesus loves?

2)   Where in my life do I struggle to persevere in love to the end?

Scriptures:

Any scripture from the text; Is. 53:12B; Mark 10:45; Heb. 10:36

"TWO-ZERO-ONE-EIGHT, TIME TO EXPIATE"

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