All news

“I am yours, and you are mine; so, we can dispose of each other, delight in each other, enjoy each other.”

The first letter of St. John: loving our brothers and believing in Christ (part one)

9/21/2021
Leave a comment below

For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.  (1John 3:11-15)

John sets as a second condition for walking in the light of the Lord that of loving our brothers and sisters, keeping the commandment of Jesus, and of faith in Christ.

We begin with the Apostle John's invitation to put into practice the message of loving one another as Jesus taught us.

For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. Mutual love between brothers is presented here as the central message. It is announced and heard from the very beginning and no longer just as a commandment. To speak of commandment means to speak above all of duty, of commitment and of effort; to speak of message means to highlight that it is a matter of a beautiful and important teaching, indeed of a prophetic word communicated with authority. At this point John gives us two contrasting examples: first Cain and then, in v. 16, Jesus (the new Abel). Cain therefore belongs to the sons of the devil and demonstrates that belonging by violently killing his own brother Abel (Gen 4:8). This is a story that repeats itself. The Apostle asks us whether we have understood the reason for this heinous killing. He expresses himself with a certain irony when he says: " why..." as if Cain had done a "favor" to Abel by killing him. In the Gospel Jesus says that it is possible to kill a Christian believing to give glory to God (Jn 16,2).

Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you: Here is revealed the secret of the hatred and murder perpetrated by Cain: Cain carried out evil and sinful actions, not pleasing to God; that is, he loved evil. He demonstrated this by doing many iniquitous actions, in a crescendo that led him to kill his brother. He who is attached to his own dishonest interests is afraid of the truth of faith, since this truth could reveal his shameful hypocrisy and wickedness. For this reason he tends to suppress the one who is a reproach to him, perhaps for the mere fact that he is a living model of righteousness and holiness. Moreover, If the righteous person proclaims the truth even in words, then the righteous person becomes for the unrighteous an unbearable person. St. Augustine says, "According to John, Abel's good works are none other than his charity.... By charity, brethren, men are distinguished. Let no one stop at words, but look at deeds and the feelings of the heart" (Augustine, Meditations).

"We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other": the hatred of the world sheds more light on what the faithful know with certainty, that is, they possess eternal life within themselves, after having made a true leap from death to life (from hatred to love).  The reason for this certainty of being in life lies in the concrete fact that true believers have accepted the message and put into practice the ever ancient and ever new commandment of love towards their brothers and sisters, in all its forms.

“Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him:  not only open hatred, but also the simple lack of love kills the life in us. He who does not love kills himself permanently. He has death within himself and produces death outside of himself. Love, on the other hand, is the opposite of death. At first it seems to us that this statement is exaggerated. And yet, in the end, the apostle John is right because hatred always leads us to annihilate our brother, living as if he did not exist and, in the most serious cases, induces us to suppress him even physically. Loathing is no small thing: "If one did not give weight until now to brotherly hatred, will he now give little weight to the murder he commits in his heart? He has not yet raised his hands to kill, but the Lord already considers him a murderer" (Augustine, Meditations). Let us think of all those who even today have died just because we did not love and help them!

In October 1909 Jesus, speaking about the nature of true love, told Luisa that that true love facilitates everything, excludes any fear, any doubt, and all of its art is in taking possession of the beloved; and when it has made her its own, love itself provides her with the means in order to preserve the object acquired. Now, what fear, what doubt can a soul have about something that belongs to her? What can she not hope for? Even more, when she has come to take possession of it, love becomes daring and reaches the point of taking excesses up to the incredible. True love can say: ‘There is no longer yours and mine - I am yours, and you are mine; so, we can dispose of each other, delight in each other, enjoy each other. If I have acquired you, I want to use you as I please.’

How can the soul, in this state of true love, go fishing for defects, miseries, weaknesses, if the object acquired has condoned her everything, embellishes her with everything, and the object that she possesses keeps purifying her continuously? These are the virtues of true love: to purify everything, to triumph over everything, to reach everything. In fact, what love can there be for a person whom one fears, about whom one doubts, from whom one does not hope for everything? Love would lose the best of its qualities. It is true that even in the saints one can see this; and this shows that in the saints love can be imperfect and can have its variety, according to the state in which they find themselves.

In those who live in the Divine Will, the thing is very different: since they should be in Heaven with Jesus, and they have sacrificed this for love of obedience and of their neighbor, love has been confirmed in them, the will has been confirmed in not offending Him. Therefore the life of the soul that lives in the Will of God is like a life that has already passed, and this is why she doesn’t feel the burden of her miseries. So, Let us be well attentive on what befits us, and on loving Jesus up to the infinite Love.

don Marco
Comments
Would you like to enter a comment? Sign up or do the Login!
Last comments 0 of 0
There are no comments