A wedding feast. A guest. A need. A request. And then something happens. In truth, a pastoral need requires the gifts of love.
What does love mean, exactly? All religions profess it. All people desire it. And yet, any one of us who has taken the wholehearted leap of faith, knows love remains a mystery. God is mystery. And, love is a mystery. We ‘know’ this is true because both our desire and belief in God is revealed in and through our desire and belief in love. Never fully understood or attained, both mysteries are the ground of our lives. This God-Love MYSTERY is our encounter with all that opens us to the ultimate meaning for our vowed life.
Learning to encounter this mystery with the full depth of our being allows us to forever be intentional and challenged in our ordinary lives. Our life as Adorers of the Blood of Christ we commit ourselves to embracing God-Love in each moment and relationship.
The challenge then becomes how to grow our own hearts, how do we nourish our ability to love? We know the Scripture, “love your neighbor as yourself…” and, yet, loving ourselves is immensely challenging.
Thich Nhat Hanh points out; “When we learn to love and understand ourselves and have true compassion for ourselves, then we can truly love and understand another person.”
Thich Nhat Hanh expands this truth: “Sometimes we feel empty; we feel a vacuum, a great lack of something. The desire to understand ourselves and to understand life is a deep thirst. There’s also the deep thirst to be loved and to love. We are ready to love and be loved. It’s very natural.”
It is in fostering this natural ‘thirst,’ our desire for love, that we encounter the God-Love mystery that leads us to an experience of holiness.
When we have enough understanding that holiness is a natural manifestation of loving ourselves and God, then every moment — whether it’s spent making breakfast, driving the car, teaching, doing acts of healing, watering the garden, praying, discerning spirits or doing anything else in our day — can be a sacrament moment God-Love. There are many gifts but “the Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person…”
This is the power and beauty of Jesus’ presence and ministry: ALL IS ONE. He doesn’t say, “Now pay attention, I am going to do something loving.” Nor does he said, “This is a holy-sacramental action.” No, Jesus lives the God-Love mystery and we are filled with awe by his profound simplicity.
This celebration at the Wedding Feast of Cana, reminds us that Jesus’ identity and mission was a response of God-love in very earthy, practical, pastoral ways. As Mother Teresa said:
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
So, we are not called to turn water into wine, but we are called to turn our ordinary actions into moments of love! In each moment and every relationship, we express our love of God, ourselves and all of creation.
As Fyodor Dostoevsky states in the novel, “The Brothers Karamazov
Love people in their sin, for that is the semblance of Divine Love and is the highest love on earth. Love all God’s creation, the whole and every grain of sand of it. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love.
This “all-embracing love” need is our Wedding Feast now. May we use our ‘individual’ gifts to turn the ordinary into an act of God-love.
Sara Dwyer ASC