I'm Joining in the 2nd Annual Keep Love in Lent Link-Up from Catholic Bloggers Network hosted by the following blogs:
Equipping Catholic Families , Campfires and Cleats ,Truly Rich Mom and A Slice of Smith Life
Join and discover new ways to Keep Love in Lent.
Love thy neighbor as thyself.
We've all heard it before. It's in the Bible as one of the greatest commandments.
But, dang! It's just not that easy.
Some "neighbors" are easy to love. We can admit it. We love the folks who think and look like us. We love the neighbor who waves and says "Hi" each time they see us in the yard. We love the person at the grocery who smiles and greats us warmly. We love those who worship the way we do and pray the way we do. We love those in our inner circles.
Some "neighbors" are more difficult love. It might be the neighbor who gives you the evil eye because they think your child is a bad influence on their children. The person on the other end of the phone who bemoans "It's not my department." The sour-faced and angry co-worker. The person on the corner holding a sign that says the world is ending on a specified date. The racist neighbor who is filled with hate. The person who belittles your faith and/or your place of worship.
Some "neighbors" are needing our love. The hungry and scared child living in poverty. The family facing foreclosure of their home. The elderly neighbor who has no-one that visits her in the nursing home. The list goes on and on. The abused neighbor, the sad and lonely neighbor, the lost and seeking neighbor, the uninsured neighbor, the worried neighbor...
I am sure you can come up with a lot more to add to this list. In fact, I want to invite you to do just that for Lent this year. Sit down and write your own Lenten Love MY "Neighbor" List. If you have children, invite them to add to a family list each week and make that list a part of your regular prayers this Lent. I would venture to say that the little ones will have some of the most profound entries for your list. No matter if it is a family list or your own personal list, keep this list with you all throughout Lent and add to it as the need arises. Then our next step will be to find a way to be the love that neighbor needs. Depending on the "neighbor," we will show and be that love in different ways. If we believe and offer ourselves fully and humbly, I firmly trust that the Lord will present us with the opportunities to make love an action that we birth into being.
There is one last category of people that needs our love. The "neighbor" that we have classified as not deserving our love. Those that have caused great physical or spiritual harm to us or to those we love. Those that have done things that go beyond our human and moral understanding and comprehension. For there is an evil that seeps into some of God's children. An evil that twists the human soul and hides the light of the Holy Spirit from a person It is an evil that causes them to harm others in profound and deep ways. That is the most challenging love we are called to give.
I just have to remember that authentic love doesn't pick apart or tear down others. Authentic love doesn't have to stop and be reminded that all of us hurt and need others. Love cares about the condition of the other over self. Love is unfailing, undeserved and unconditional.
This is not going to be easy. I have such a long way to go.
by Cyndi Marlow
3/3/2014 02:21:25 pm
very well done
What a beautiful post!...what a great way to truly enter into "love your neighbor" and make it hit home. It's usually easy to love those people who think like us, are related to us...and those who are nice to us. The real challenge is to love those we need to forgive...those who offend us with their words and actions and those we have trouble relating to. I can only imagine the opportunities the Lord will give us to love our neighbor...if we're open and eager.
Monica - I am always amazed when others say "it" so much more eloquently. Thank you for your words. I struggle daily to try to have even just a small share of what the Lord see's with his eye's when he looks upon us. "Give me you eye's Lord"....(I know it's a contemporary Christian song, not sure who it is by, but I am singing it right now in my mind) Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words.
3/12/2014 06:52:38 am
One thing I always try to remember about loving my neighbor as myself is what C. S. Lewis said: "Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained." He basically says that while we may not always like ourselves, we never cease to love ourselves and to want what is best for ourselves. We need to remember this when we think of our neighbors. Whether we like them or not, we must love them. Perhaps in loving them, actively, caring for them and bringing Christ to them, we may learn to like them as well.
3/12/2014 09:12:54 am
Cyndi, you gave me a few things to think about or should I say pray about. I like your scripture. I think you blog was 68 or so in the 75 for Keeping Love in Lent. So much to ponder during this time of Lent. Thanks Peggy www.creatingspaceinyourlife.com
3/14/2014 06:01:45 am
I've spent a ton of time on EmbeddedFaith.org this morning - so much fantastic stuff for sharing the faith and growing in our faith!! Great work!! p.s. LOVED this post too...good reminder that my neighbor isn't just the "people in my neighborhood" either -which would make this command much easier for me too, with just 2 wonderful folks to choose from :)))
2/4/2015 11:56:03 am
2/4/2015 01:09:15 pm
Thanks for participating in the #WorthRevisit LinkUP!!! so wonderful to see your link there this evening!! And what a fantastic post !!
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