“How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.”
I John 3:17,18
Laying Down Our Lives
When we give witness to the Word, when we testify to our experience of the risen Christ, most often we won’t be needing words.
-Br. Nicholas Bartoli
In this, the sixth week of our series, we’re going to look at what it means for us to share our testimony, to ‘testify’ to God’s Word in the world, through our word and actions. Specifically on this day, we’ll be looking at what it means to serve others in love, and we’ll be basing our reflection on the First Letter of John, chapter 3, verses 17 and 18, which reads: “How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods, and sees a brother or sister in need, and yet refuses to help? Little children, let us love not in word or speech, but in truth and action.”
When I read that scripture, I’m reminded of one of my favorite quotes attributed to Saint Francis, which is, “At all times preach the Gospel, and when necessary, use words” – which is Saint Francis’ way of saying that when we give witness to the Word, when we testify to our experience of the risen Christ, that most often we won’t be needing words, because the most powerful way to testify is through our actions and through our loving presence.
One of the ways that we can learn how to embody this way of being in the world is to continually strive to empty ourselves of everything that gets in the way of union with our beloved God. We’ll find that, in our spiritual journey, the more we learn to live in union with God, to get rid of the stuff inside that separates us, we’ll learn to rest in God’s presence more fully, and from that place it will only seem the most natural thing in the world to serve others in love.
When Jesus walked the earth in his human form, he gave us an example of what this would be like. He fully embodied God’s love and light, and the only natural response for him was to serve as much as he could. That was his example, serving others who needed it most, and that’s what we’re called to do.
So let us pray today, as we continue on our journey along the way of Christ, we may surrender more and more of ourselves to God, learning how to empty ourselves of all that gets in the way of fuller union with God, letting ourselves rest in that presence, that out of that love and light, creating our heart, calls us to respond to the world’s needs simply by being humble servants.