Chapter Talk – Sixth Sunday of Easter – May 9, 2021, cycle-B
Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar comments on Sunday’s gospel: “‘Remain in my love.’ These words are to remain alive in the hearts of believers, permitting Jesus to address us inwardly in heart and conscience long after he no longer lives among us outwardly” (Light of the Word, p.193). ‘Remain in my love’: these words are to be alive in and upon our hearts; they also are to be alive upon our daily consciousness and conscience. Are they? Do we hear the Divine voice speaking to us: ‘My love is with you, remain in my love’? This is our essential task as monastics no matter where we are or what we are doing: to remain in this transforming, healing love of our God.
Furthermore, Von Balthasar writes: “These words of farewell are also an irrevocable promise, an assurance that includes, sealed within itself, a requirement….His farewell promises are so overwhelmingly immense that they simply contain within themselves the demands they make of us. Has he not communicated to us the entire abyss of God’s love and chosen us to live within it” (Light of the Word, p.193). To live within the ‘abyss of God’s love’ includes demands, demands that are inherent in the gift. We often operate out of this: I must be loving because this is the Christian thing to do. While morallythis is fine, theologically and spiritually there is something deeper and truer to what Jesus is communicating. The requirement or the demands placed upon us are held within the love that we are to remain in.
In other words, as we abide in Christ’s love the demandsinherent in this love are something we want to do because we have experienced this love from inside…and it has changed us. And, further, we want to love because in the act of loving we are close to Christ, we participate in his life and become more like him in our words and deeds.
Abiding in Christ’s love is not the ‘reward’ per se. Thomas Merton has written: “‘The reward is in the fact that love is exercised’” (CF-13, p.83). There is no separation between abiding, remaining in God’s love and living from that love. They are one, flowing one from the other.
‘Remain in my love’: let us take a few minutes of silent meditative prayer, letting these words of Jesus circle around our hearts and our lives…
Sr. Kathy DeVico, Abbess