Love and do whatever you please – St. Augustine of Hippo
Perhaps one of my favorite quotes! Although some might say it scandalous to do whatever we want. What about rules? What about regulations? What about the Ten Commandments? What about holy days of obligation?
The idea is that when we truly love God, our hearts will be in the right place. Actions and speech will flow naturally from the abundance of a heart that is fixed on God. A holy day of obligation becomes a holy day of opportunity because what was once a chore– becomes pure delight.
Yet, being able to love God is in itself a gift. This grace is known as charity. It is one of the three theological virtues, up there with faith and hope. Love has been quoted as being the greatest gift in Sacred Scripture: So faith, hope, and love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (I Corinthians 13:13).
How does one get that gift? I find comfort in reading text from the dogmatic constitution on the Church of the Second Vatican Council. This gift is available to everyone: God Himself is not far from those others who seek the unknown God in darkness and shadows, for it is He who gives to all men life and inspiration and all things and who as Savior desires all men to be saved…Eternal salvation is open to those who , though no fault of their own, do not know Christ and His Church but seek God with a sincere heart…
Love is a theme that runs throughout all of Christianity. In fact, some might say that the phrase “Love one another” has become quite trite. My husband likes to tell of a story of when his mother would have family devotions in the early morning. He states that as a kid, most of the time he was half asleep. When finished, his mother always asked him what he had gained from the study. He quickly learned that to respond “love one another” pretty much covered most anything that he might have missed while snoozing!
Loving and doing as one pleases is a theme that can be extracted from these next couple of days Scripture readings that deal with the activities done by Jesus on the Sabbath such as picking grain and healing the sick.
But what about it when one doesn’t love doing things that must get done? Like for example, going to work, cleaning the house, changing diaper pants, lugging bags of groceries up the stairs, or changing the cat litter box? Everything becomes redefined when looked through spiritual eyes. Even the most mundane of chores can become meaningful when done for the sake of loving God. The heart set on God is like a compass pointed in the direction of heaven.