Returning to the Original Love
This month’s ongoing formation is a continuation of the session on “Discipleship” given during the retreat.
Fr. Carlo started the talk by relating the topic, Discipleship: Returning to the Original Love in giving pre-baptismal catechesis wherein catechists usually give emphasis on the original sin since in baptism we receive sanctifying grace and so our sins are being cleansed. But according to Fr. Carlo, we must bring them to the story of the original love in Genesis 1 and 2.
Original love is the love that allows us to love one another. It is the first love, the basis for all creative human relationships and the love that we want to make visible to each other, among each other and with each other. Original love is our very spiritual life.
The voice of the original love is allowing God to tell you “I love you.”
When we know how much we are loved, we are then set free just like the sinful woman who poured perfume on Jesus’ feet in the story of Luke 7:46. The effect on us is that we are free to love people without asking anything in return which is different from worldly love that is always transactional. That is…if we give something, we expect something in return. Jesus’ advice is to give without expecting something in return.
How do we know the original love? According to Fr. Carlo, it is through prayer. We have to pray in order to let the first love touch us so that we can know it again. We pray not only in our heads but in our hearts. So, we move from discursive prayer to affective prayer. In praying with the heart, once we are touched, we encounter religious experiences. Religious experiences sustain us in living our vocation.
How do we participate in this divine love? We tend to think that love begins and ends with our interpersonal relationships, this is not true according to the Scriptures, love of others begins with our relationship with God. We have to love in the manner of God’s love. We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).
In marriage, it is not that two people love each other so much that they find God in each other, but that God loves them so much that they can discover each other as living reminders of God’s presence.
Jesus reveals to us that love is a relationship between persons. A person is someone who is sounding through. We are sounding through a greater love than we ourselves can contain and if we know that first love, then the presence of God in us can recognize the presence of God in the other.
Following Jesus in a life of discipleship is about discovering how God’s presence can be made visible here and now by our love for each other.
In conclusion, Fr. Carlo ended with a prayer exercise through Lectio Divina leading us to return to the Original Love, a love that allows us to love one another.