Again, “We adore God Who is love, who in Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, Who offered Himself on the Cross to expiate our sins, and through the power of this love, rose from the dead and lives in His Church. We have no God other than Him” (Pope Francis, 6/21/14).
People adore many, many gods. All that Francis says above about adoration and Jesus is truth for the Christian, regardless of how incongruous to the common sense experience of people it may appear. But if Jesus is the Incarnation of the Word of God, God, who is to be adored, then something logically, theologically, spiritually, morally follows that cannot be avoided, that must also be done. Adoration of Jesus intrinsically mandates the imitation of Jesus. To adore Jesus in one’s heart and mind instantly calls forth the necessity of imitating Him in one’s spirit and behavior. Why?
The answer to “Why?” for a Christian is, if Jesus is God, who is to be adored as only God is to be adored, then Jesus’ “new commandment “ (Jn 13:34, 15:12; Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1970, # 2822), “I give you a new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you,” is a Divine spiritual and moral imperative for all who are disciples of Jesus. For Christians it is the Eleventh Commandment spoken by the same God who gave Moses the first ten Commandments.
“As” means imitation. The incarnational imitation of God, Jesus, intrinsically flows from the adoration of God, Jesus—not only as a moral necessity but as a positive compelling spiritual desire to satisfy, out of love, the One he or she adores. “If you love me you will keep my commandments,” is not a rule, it is a fact. The adoration and imitation of Jesus go together. As the old song says, “You can’t have one without the other.” So also it is, if you adore Jesus you will keep His commandments. Again, this is a fact, not a law. And what is His commandment? “Love one another as I have loved you.”
As we saw in yesterday’s FAST FOOD Helping, “Jesus experienced nothing that is not part of the human condition. And he thus placed his achievements within the reach of all men…. He demands nothing that is not within the reach of every man of every age. The deliverance of man is not to be accomplished by an act, which can be shared by only a few.” This being the case, the imitation of Christ, “Love one another as I have loved you,” is “within the reach of every man of every age.” Since the Jesus of the Gospels is Nonviolent and since He teaches a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies as the Will of God by His words and deeds, this means that any Christian in any age can freely choose to imitate the Nonviolent Jesus, to love as the Nonviolent Jesus loves, and thereby participate in “the deliverance of man.”
But to love as Jesus loves within a humanity drenches in evil, and to that extent operating as channel for the power of the Satanic 60/60/24/7/365, will be a struggle possibly resulting in much suffering and even death. Evil does not lie down and take a pass on attacking the person who decides to follow the “new commandment.” To the contrary, it rages over a person taking this path and unrelentingly attacks and conjures up plans to attack, trap and destroy that person—and it does this with angelic intelligence. Jesus does not teach a philosophy of evil, He communicates only how to vanquish it on behalf of oneself and others. And, that Way of overcoming evil in all its manifestations is the Way of the Eleventh Commandment, the Way of “new commandment,” the Way of imitation of Christ, the Way of love (agape) as taught by the Nonviolent Jesus by word and deed.
When a person chooses the Way of the Eleventh Commandment, he or she is choosing, as Jesus did, to love. The person is not choosing suffering and/or death, although the Satanic in its fury and cunning can pour untold suffering, and even death, down upon those who choose to struggle to love as the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels. It was Satan, not God, that poured down beastly suffering, and eventually death by crucifixion, on Jesus Himself in order to try to bring to lose trust in the Father and to abandon the Father’s Will and Way of Nonviolent love of all under all circumstances. It is not suffering and death that save, but rather Christlike love as the response to evil, sin and death that saves.
“The power that destroys all other powers is the power of love, the love of God revealed and active in Jesus. God revealed in Jesus that He loves man and will deliver him through love and through nothing else” (Rev. John L. McKenzie, The Power and The Wisdom).
-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy
(To be continued)