Lent 11 ~ As Often As I Draw Breath

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‘I love You, O my God’
by St. Jean-Marie Vianney

I love You, O my God, and my only desire is to love You until the last breath of my life. I love You, O my infinitely lovable God, and I would rather die loving You, than live without loving You. I love You, Lord and the only grace I ask is to love You eternally. . . My God, if my tongue cannot say in every moment that I love You, I want my heart to repeat it to You as often as I draw breath.

 

          It is never easy to love one’s enemies – more so when they persist in reminding you of why they are not your friends and never can be.

          Yet, it is written in stone,

But I say to you, love your enemies,
and pray for those who persecute you,…
for He makes His sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.   ~  Matthew 5: 44 – 45

          On this blue~grey morn, hushed by the sweep of dawn rains, today’s Gospel reading brings 2 faces before me. They are not my enemies but I am surely theirs. They make no attempt to disguise their contempt for me and nothing pleases me more than not having to see them, for they can only live on the sustenance of my subservience.

          But my Jesus is very clear.

For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same?   ~  Matthew 5: 46 – 47

          The lines prod me to do something.

Love your enemies

          I’d rather plunge head first into a swamp, Lord.

But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you

          I can certainly pray for them but what if today God is asking something more of me? The God Who has given me so much? Can I turn my back on my God?

          Those 2 faces again. Reluctantly, I drag my will out of the swamp and place it in God’s hands. Tell me how You want me to love them, I tell the God Who didn’t have to love me but did.

          Rising to my feet, the angel comes to stand before me. I look up and he gently places a prayer in my hands.

I love You, O my God, and my only desire is to love You until the last breath of my life. I love You, O my infinitely lovable God, and I would rather die loving You, than live without loving You. I love You, Lord and the only grace I ask is to love You eternally. . . My God, if my tongue cannot say in every moment that I love You, I want my heart to repeat it to You as often as I draw breath.

 

          There is only one line I can earnestly say in all truthfulness. There is nothing of ‘enemy’ in it, thankfully, and I pray the line from my heart.

My God, if my tongue cannot say in every moment that I love You, I want my heart to repeat it to You as often as I draw breath.

          Suddenly, the very moment I say the line, the sun tips over a huge pool of shine through the rain~pearled fir boughs. In an instant, the light renders the millions of rain diamonds a knife-bright gold. The timing and the sight stun me.

My God, if my tongue cannot say in every moment that I love You, I want my heart to repeat it to You as often as I draw breath.

          To love God is to love my enemies.

          And to love my enemies is to love my God.

If my tongue cannot say in every moment that I love You, I want my heart to repeat it to You as often as I draw breath.

          If I cannot speak and show the 2 women I love them because it is sure to be taken a sign of acquiescence to their narcissism, to their perceived right to subjugate me to their will, I can certainly love them in the hiddenness of my heart. No turning the corner when I see them approach. No speedy shifting of my gaze. No need to jump into swamps.

           If my tongue cannot say in every moment that I love them, then, as often as I draw breath, in the heart where no secret is kept from God, I can tell these women,

I love you

          Because His sun rises on you as it does on me. Because His rain falls on you as it does on me. Because He loves you as He does me.

          So, as often as I draw breath, in the place known only to the God I love,

I love you as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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