We are now entering into the “Love” part of our tri-partite “Pray-Love-Celebrate” theme for our 200th anniversary year at St Philip’s. Parishioners are invited to participate by thinking of ways of carrying out various acts of kindness and charity, and to enter them (anonymously) in our “Love” book, so that we can present a spiritual bouquet to God of the ways we have blessed others during the anniversary year.
I remember reading somewhere that “the Catholic Church is a way of life, and the only thing that should dominate the picture is Love – love of God and of our neighbour.” Quite recently I came across this exquisite teaching on the virtue of love from St Clement, third pope after St Peter. This is what he has to say about love:
“Who can express the binding power of divine love? Who can find words for the splendour of its beauty. Beyond all description are the heights to which it lifts us. Love unites us to God; it cancels innumerable sins; has no limits to its endurance, bears everything patiently. Love is neither servile nor arrogant. It does not provoke schisms or form cliques but always acts in harmony with others. By it all God’s chosen ones have been sanctified; without it, it is impossible to please him. Out of love the Lord took us to himself; because he loved us and it was God’s will, our Lord Jesus Christ gave his life’s blood for us – he gave his body for our body, his soul for our soul.
See then, beloved, what a great and wonderful thing love is, and how inexpressible its perfection. To God we must turn, begging of his mercy that there may be found in us a love free from human partiality and beyond reproach. Those who by God’s grace were made perfect in love have a dwelling now among the saints, and when at last the kingdom of Christ appears, they will be revealed….Happy are we, beloved, if love enables us to love in harmony and in the observance of God’s commands, for then it will also gain for us the remission of our sins…This is the blessing given those whom God has chosen through Jesus Christ our lord. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
What will you do this year to increase love in our world?