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Fr Bob Writes – February 8, 2015

“In the morning, while it was still very dark, Jesus got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)

The following is taken from the book “Rebuilt” by Michael White and Tom Corcoran:

“Jesus commanded, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself ” (Matthew 22:39). To love your neighbour as yourself, you’ve got to, well – love yourself. Disciples love themselves not by indulging themselves, but rather by taking care of themselves.

Jesus invested time in his own self-care. Time and again in the gospels he withdraws from the crowds and even from his friends for quiet time alone. There he refreshes himself and renews his relationship with the Father. Obviously he pours himself into the lives of others, but only after he allows himself to be filled up. That’s the example disciples follow.

While modern society pushes people to their limits, disciples preserve margin in their schedules. Because it is in the margins that rest and refreshment are found and relationships happen. Disciples accept the responsibility to care for themselves in other ways, too, building the energy and resources they need to live as God commands. Physical exercise and good nutrition are part of the process. A weaning away from self-defeating habits like alcohol abuse, nicotine addiction, anger mismanagement, and bad behaviours like gossip, profanity, or pornography, are what disciples do too. As Matthew Kelly aptly sums it up, what we’re talking about is a lifestyle change. 

Our self-care is preparatory to loving one another. The Church we read about in the Acts of the Apostles was so attractive precisely because they loved one another in a selfless, wholehearted way. And Jesus promises that love like that will be the definitive identification of his followers (cf John 13:35). It is the most evident fruit of the Holy Spirit and powerful proof of the truth of the message we preach. As Rick Warren (author of “The Purpose Driven Life”) says, if congregations actually love one another, “you’ll have to lock the doors to keep people out.” 

So what are YOU doing as a disciple of Jesus Christ to love yourself and love your neighbour?