Archives For Gift

Caritas: On Love

July 16, 2013 — 3 Comments

“Now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love,” (1 Corinthians 13:13).

1 Cor. 13:13 is by far my favorite verse from the Bible. It shows that love is the greatest of all the virtues–greater than faith and greater than hope. It is my opinion that many Christians live with a faith-centered mindset. Don’t get me wrong; faith is important. However, love is greater!

Yet how often do we reflect on the meaning of the word love? What is love? The following biblical verse comes to mind immediately: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends,” (John 15:13). This quote from Jesus nearly moves me to tears every time that I read it. Our Lord clearly teaches that love requires an ultimate self-gift, a fatal sacrifice. Though it may seem that we are incapable of such an act, I believe wholeheartedly that we can and must spiritually and literally “die” for our friends as Jesus died for us. We–the baptized–have the power of the Holy Spirit within us so that we may live as Christ lived. Equally, the Spirit gives us the fortitude to die as Christ died. We cannot take away the sin of the world in the same way that Christ did thorough his death and resurrection, but we can benefit from the fruits of the Holy Spirit in order to do our part in reducing sin and spreading love.

If you have a free moment, I ask you to reflect on the following questions:

1) Are you ready to give your life for your friends?

2) In the coming week what actions can you take to initiate or continue the process of sanctification through self-gift?

3) What might giving your life for your friends look like in this day and age?

May the Holy Spirit fill you with the strength of God. May He bless you with many opportunities to give to others by sacrificing yourself.

With love,

David Inczauskis

Lumen de Lumine

July 5, 2013 — 1 Comment

“A Brief Commentary on Pope Francis’ Encyclical Lumen Fidei

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20130629_enciclica-lumen-fidei_en.html

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Today the Vatican made public Pope Francis’ first encyclical letter, which is entitled Lumen Fidei or “The Light of Faith.” It is the final product of a document that Benedict XVI started during his pontificate. The title of the work corresponds to one of the three theological virtues–faith, hope, and love. Benedict issued two encyclicals on love and hope, and now Francis is finishing the series by promulgating a letter about faith. I must say that Lumen Fidei is a Christian masterpiece.

My favorite line from the letter is the following: “It is characteristic of the divine light to brighten our eyes whenever we walk towards the fullness of love.” Francis repeatedly uses the metaphor of a light in a mirror to describe the relationship between God and humankind. As we move closer to the mirror by the grace of God, the light grows stronger and stronger. The sacraments, prayer, revelation, and the Church are gifts from God that enable us to achieve union with Him over time. We can walk in the light because of God’s grace and mercy as expressed in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Jesus is the only light that satisfies our thirst for truth; only through Him can we achieve full communion with the Father.

The encyclical also covers the blessing of apostolic succession. The Church that God founded continues to survive because the good news is passed on from generation to generation just as a language moves through history via tradition. It is because of the communion of the apostles and their successors with God that we have the Holy Scripture and the sacraments as Christ ordained them. The Church is the Body of Our Lord, and each member has a vital role to play in service of God and the common good. Only in community–only in the Church–can we find the fulfillment of God’s promises of faithfulness. While salvation is personal, it is communal, as well. The Lord chooses to share the gospel message through the Church. After all, who has come to know Christ by living in a vacuum?

I encourage you to take a look at the encyclical. Undoubtedly, it will help you find your way along the path of holiness. It will encourage you, and it will give you a number of memorable lines for prayer and reflection.

May the Lord provide you with the gift of faith, which reaches its perfection in love.

–David