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Archive for June, 2009

 As I have Loved you!

As I have Loved you!

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.“ (John 15:9-12)

My Fellow Pilgrims,

In this post I would like to present to you some insight into one of the gifts of the Spirit that we understand only superficially. Because of our lack of understanding, we tend to miss the daunting challenge that gift signifies for us, and thus neglect to totally fulfill the Father’s purpose for that gift in our lives.

The gift that I am speaking of is the gift of Divine Love (agape), the gift that has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5).  In order to demonstrate how we have taken this gift for granted let me begin by commenting on the theme scripture for this post.

In the theme Scripture quoted above, Jesus tells His disciples in His last discourse to them before His Passion that, (1) As the Father Loves Me so I have loved you, and (2) Love one another as I have Loved you. (Note: in the original text the word “love” used in the quote is derived from the Greek “agape”, meaning divine or unconditional, selfless love)

Now let us carefully assess what Jesus is saying. He is asking the disciples (and we believers by implication) to Love One another with the same love that the Father Loves the Son.  Now we also know from the Church’s teaching that the love between the Father and the Son is the Holy Spirit.

We can only conclude from this, that the only way we can love one another as Jesus loves us by the Holy Spirit indwelling in us and manifesting Himself through our lives and relationships. The active presence of the indwelling Spirit then is the only way we humans can love as Jesus Loved or as the Father loved Jesus. By placing His Spirit of Love in us the Father begins His plan to conform us to the image of His Son and make us partners in His work of salvation here in this world. Our problem is that in order to activate this spiritual gift of His Love in us we must freely yield ourselves to the Spirit in faith so that this divine love can flow from us to others. If we are unaware of the nature of this gift we incorrectly assume that what is required of us is to merely discipline ourselves to love others in the same manner as Jesus would have done. When we express our love in this manner we are expressing our own love and we are not releasing the Gift of divine love,

Expressing our love at a human level is, in itself not bad, but it is not the fullness of what the Lord desires. You see what the Father desires for us as His Partners is that we be channels of His Love and not merely imitators of His love. He wants us to be His partners in bringing His Kingdom of love to the world. However, because of our human condition we insist of doing things for God instead of letting God do His works through us. What The Lord wants to do is transform our human “brotherly love” (philos) so that it is infused with His Divine Love (Agape). Like the loaves and the fishes that Jesus blessed and were multiplied,  He wants us to offer our Human level of love to Him so He can bless it and transform it so we can be His Partners in manifesting His Love!

The key to releasing the Gift of the Divine Love (Agape) that has been placed in us is self-denial. Just as Jesus said “if anyone wishes to be my disciple let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me”. Our self-denial permits the Holy Spirit to begin His work of transformation in us.

Yes, there is a personal cost to releasing the Divine Love that is in us. We must take up the cross of self-denial daily and you can be sure that the flesh will resist you in making that decision. We will always be challenged to put down our self-interest in order to obey the leading of the Spirit.

Now, to be sure, those of us, who are yielded to Christ and the Holy Spirit, unconsciously, in our inner selves, sense the need for self-denial and thus are usually open to the flow of the Divine Love in most instances. However, there are times for all of us, especially when we are under stress, that the fleshly part of us takes over and we revert to walking in the flesh and not in the Spirit. When this happens, Father God is not able to express His partnership through us and thus, even though we may still manifest a charism, that charism will not bear fruit spiritually because we have become disconnected to the vine, which is Christ.

St. Paul, in his first epistle to the Corinthians, also tells us that … “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (1 Cor 13:1-3)

From what has been stated we see that Divine Agape Love is the underpinning for our True Life in the Spirit.  And it is by our conscious yielding to the Spirit in our daily lives that we can maintain an open channel for the Divine Love to flow from us to others as the Spirit wills. Yes, this involves cross carrying in which we sometimes fail, but thankfully, the Lord in His mercy, has provided the means to remain connected to the vine through our sincere repentance and through reception of the sacraments of confession, and holy communion.

Restating the main point again: the Love that is spoken of in the New Commandment, is Divine Love (agape) not human love. That is why the Lord told the disciples “I give you a new commandment” (John 13:34) associated with his promise to.. “send you the Spirit and He will dwell in you”. It had to be a new commandment because we in our human nature could not fulfill that commandment until the Jesus had gone to the Father and the Holy Spirit of Promise had been given. Thus when we yield to the Spirit and let Him lead us we become an extension of Jesus’ ministry in this world and therefore enter into partnership with the Father so that His Love may continue to be manifested to all humanity.

Consider that this type of love is placed in us as a seed is planted in fertile ground (a heart of faith) so that it may grow and bear fruit. It can only bear fruit if you decide to activate this type of Love using your own free will. This is how we grow spiritually.

You may also think of the Love God has placed in our hearts as the “talents” God has given us to use in this world. If we use these “talents” wisely, this love will multiply in the world and bring Glory to God. If we hide this talent (or gift) and don’t use it God will not receive any glory and the talent will be squandered.

We need to recognize that our spiritual growth usually occurs in spurts. These spurts are usually correlated to our ability to act in Love. That is, we may demonstrate Divine Love at a particular level where we have become comfortable in giving of ourselves. But there are parts of ourselves we still place restrictions on our giving and loving. When we become too comfortable at one level the Lord challenges us with opportunities in our lives to go beyond our current comfort level and go to the next level of Love. It is at these junctures where we experience the pain that accompanies spiritual growth. The way the Lord does this is he permits an event or relationship to bring up a circumstance we have been avoiding because it would intrude on one of those areas we have reserved for ourselves and have not yet yielded to God’s Love. It is at these time that we are given the opportunity to go to the next level of Love and consequently of spiritual growth.

There is no condemnation regarding any decision we make in this regard. The Lord will not condemn us. He is only drawing us forward like children in a kindergarten class. We can continue as we were or we can decide to go to the next level. This part is what is up to us. The Lord provides the grace and opportunities for spiritual growth but it is up to us to go through the doors he opens for us. Just like it is said that “you can take a horse to water but you can’t make him  drink”.

We grow spiritually as we practice this type of Love. That is why it is important that we discern the opportunities the Lord places in our everyday lives. There is not a day that the Lord will not challenge us with an opportunity to grow spiritually in His Love. Unfortunately, our very human nature blinds us to these opportunities because we do not want to see them – they are too painful.

As we proceed to release the Charisms we have received let us pray that we be more discerning of the opportunities placed before us and that we be given the grace to respond with the Divine Love the Lord has placed in our Hearts.

Knowing this, let us then, rededicate or lives to Christ, the embodiment of the Father’s Love, that in so doing we may abide in Him and He in us that in so doing we may all bring forth fruit to the Glory of God the Father. Amen and Amen!

(My brothers and sisters, there is much more to be said and understood about this topic, however, in briefly sharing my reflections with you it is my hope that you will see the importance of not only manifesting the Gifts of the Spirit but also the responsibility we have to do all that we do in the manifest Love of God that dwells in us. For when we walk outside of this Divine Love we not only grieve the Holy Spirit but we frustrate the Father’s full purpose for our lives to be His full partners in bringing forth His Kingdom in this world that is so desperately in need of His Love!   Baruch ha Shem! May His name Be Glorified Forever. Amen!!)

© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2009].

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How Amazing is His Love

My Fellow Pilgrims:

There is No Greater Love than His

There is No Greater Love than His

How difficult it is for us humans to fully comprehend the magnificent immensity of God’s Love! How amazing is His Love, that the creator of all that exists would become one of us to suffer and die for our sins so that we could become His adopted Children! Even the angels could not comprehend the depth of a Divine Love so selfless and pure, that would incarnate itself in human flesh, to live as one of us, who are less than microbes in the expanse of His creation. How incredible this Love that would submit itself to be despised, rejected, assaulted, and then submitted to an ignominious torture and death and to, in fact, become our sin so that we could attain to the righteousness that God had destined for us!

How amazing is His Love, that prior to his death, Jesus promised us that it was His desire to dwell in us so that we could come to the same intimate relationship with the Father that He has as the Only Begotten Son! And then to eternally institute that promise by giving us Himself, His Body and His Blood, at the Last Supper so we can receive Him in Holy Communion throughout our lives thus enabling His restoring Grace to continuously work His redemption in our lives.

How amazing is His Love that by His resurrection from the dead, He has provided us eternal life in Him and granted us access to His Kingdom of Love through faith In Him. And not stopping there, He provided us with the “Promise of the Father”, the Holy Spirit, so that He could not only be in each one of us but also so that we could be his hand extended to the community of God, His Body, and to the people of the world! So that through the Kingdom of God In us, the will of His Father might be accomplished in this fallen world!

In the face of a Love so magnificent, my personal testimony then is but a drop of water lost in the ocean of all His works and His Majesty. May He, and He alone, receive all the Glory and Praise for His work of Love in My life and the lives of those whom He has given me to serve!

My testimony may be summed up as this: by His Love and Mercy He opened my ears to hear the Good News of the Kingdom and I, in my wretchedness, responded and yielded my life to Him! Now, as for me I am like “a brand plucked from the fire”. I was lost but now I am found. And, like the man born blind, whom Jesus healed, I can only testify that, “….once I was I was blind but now I see” (John 9:25).

My Fellow Pilgrim my message to you is that He Loves you more than you can imagine. Through Jesus’ saving sacrifice, He has reconciled you and me to Himself is anxious to be invited into your own personal situation to redeem and bring you and that situation into His Kingdom! In doing so you will find that, in dying to self and yielding to His Love, you will find His Face through prayer and that through the dialog that ensues you will no longer need to draw water from the well of a self-imposed ascetic spirituality but instead you will be given a fountain of living water (cf. John 7:38) that will overflow without human effort (cf. John 4:13-14), not only to satisfy your own thirst, but make you a channel of His Grace for others as well.

In that regard, I must pass on to you the lyrics of a song written by Gloria Gaither in 1981 but which I Just heard in 2007. The lyrics so encapsulate the spirit which dwells in me, that the words of that song are forever engraved in my heart. I hope they will be equally meaningful to you my fellow pilgrims.

I then shall live as one who’s been forgiven;

I’ll walk with joy to know my debts are paid.

I know my name is clear before my Father;

I am His child, and I am not afraid.

So greatly pardoned, I’ll forgive my brother;

The law of love I gladly will obey.

I then shall live as one who’s learned compassion;

I’ve been so loved that I’ll risk loving, too.

I know how fear builds walls instead of bridges;

I’ll dare to see another’s point of view.

And when relationships demand commitment,

Then I’ll be there to care and follow through.

Your kingdom come, around and through and in me,

Your power and glory, let them shine thru me.

Your Hallowed Name O may I bear with honor,

And may Your living Kingdom come in me.

The Bread of Life, O may I share with honor,

And may You feed a hungry world thru me.

Amen!!!!


[Song Title: I then shall live Lyrics: Gloria Gaither 1981

Music: Jean Sibelius, 1899 From the Album: Amazing Grace – Gaither Gospel – CD and DVD

Subtitle: with Bill & Gloria Gaither and their Homecoming Friends

Release date: August 2007

VIDEO Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_p3lDJJRWc ]


Shall we not also, in response to His Amazing Love, surrender our all to Him and to the power of His Spirit so that, indeed, His Kingdom of Love may be manifested to the world around us?

Bartimaeus

PS: I recommend you go to the page:  “Entering His Love” under the “About” tab and to a document on

Awakening to the Fathers’s Love“.

© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2009].

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