Signs We Are Mirroring God’s Love

Matthew 5:48 is arguably the highest point of the teaching of the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount. Jesus said, “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48).

The context of this reading suggests it has to do with being perfect in our love for one another, the same way God is perfect in His love for all. In other words, the standard for perfect love is God’s love for us, which does not discriminate. It’s a lavish love, just like the ocean of divine love.

I came up with seven questions for self-examination regarding the extent of my love and the signs that show when I have started to mirror God’s way of loving. These questions are not meant to judge, but to encourage and motivate us to strive for a deeper understanding of love, forgiveness, and self-examination. I share these thoughts and questions with you today. You may see them as prayerful suggestions for knowing the extent of one’s love for another.

Self-Examination for Love

  1. What are my first impulses when I see or meet someone totally different from me? A sentiment of graciousness? Or suspicion and repulsion? The former is a sign of growth in true love. The latter is a sign of a lack of it or a significant work in progress.
  2. Would I be happier and more fulfilled if the world was made up of people who share the same values as mine or people of the same race or culture? Is it a serious effort to live peacefully and have a refreshing conversation with someone with a different value system? When I do, do I cherish them with the same affection I would with those I love and treasure?
  3. Would I see justice done for someone who is maliciously against me? How easy is it for me to separate people’s past from their present and be able to give them the benefit of the doubt?
  4. How do I respond to the inner desire to pay back when people hurt me? Do I find excuses for them as I find excuses for my faults? Do I still wish them well and pray for their well-being, or is doing so an impossible practice for me?
  5. If I’m materially blessed, in my heart, do I genuinely see the homeless as having the same worth as I do? Can I hang out with the smelly homeless and not feel ashamed to be with the person?
  6. In my daily or weekly prayers, what are the percentage of my petitions regarding me, people related to me, and those with whom I have nothing in common? How often do I pray for the welfare of those I consider not in my good book? In fact, how much of my prayer is about others and their welfare?
  7. Finally, the most important thing is: In my heart of hearts, do I have pure love for people for who they are instead of what they have become, what they have, or what they mean to me? Do I love everyone the same way I love myself and my friends, finding reasons to excuse them (as I excuse myself) when they do not measure up? As 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 suggests, am I patient, kind, not boastful, not jealous, not rude, and not resentful? Also, does my love bear all things and endure all things for the sake of love?

Spiritual Examination

These suggestions may be hypothetical. However, they could serve as a spiritual examination to measure the extent of my love for others.

Praying that God will pour His love into our hearts, that we may love as He loves; that is, that we may love to the measure possible for us as humans, to the degree of perfection appropriate to humankind.

May the grace of divine love stir our hearts to love as the Blessed Lord Jesus Christ loves us. Amen.

God love you. God bless you.

[Tuesday Week 11 Ordinary Time B: 1 Kgs 21:17-29; Mt 5:43-48]

Fr. Maurice Emelu

Father Maurice Emelu, Ph.D., is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Orlu in Nigeria and the Founder of Gratia Vobis Ministries. An assistant professor of communication (digital media) at John Carroll University, USA, Father Maurice is also a theologian, media strategist, and digital media academic whose numerous works appear on television networks such as EWTN. As he likes to describe himself; “I am an African priest passionately in love with Christ and his Church.”

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