In St. Teresa’s The way of Perfection, she lays the foundation for her sisters in order that they may become better nuns. At the heart of this foundation are three things, the first of which is love for each other. She goes on to warn the sisters however that it is important to love each other equally so that the focus of the sisters’ relationship with each other does not become each other but the Lord.
In thinking about this simple command from this wise saint, I realize exactly what the Lord meant when He commanded those around Him to love each other. Jesus commanded His disciples to love each other so that hate could be eroded, so that there would not be room for any conflict among His followers. This love that St. Teresa refers to is the same love the Christ commanded his followers to practice and the same love that St. Paul listed as the greatest of all the virtues. For when we love each other equally, there is no room for alliances to develop and no room for one’s affection for another to lead to choosing sides and growing resentment towards those who might offend our friends. St. Teresa wisely points out that this kind of love applies not just among her nuns but also among siblings. She notes that even among brothers and sisters, such a love can be poisonous with no advantage.
Being one of four, I can definitely see the negative effect of such a love. Often times, I find myself siding with a favored sibling over another and blindly resenting one sibling over a perceived wrong to another. This blind love that is focused on the object of our love rather than the Lord is what St. Teresa speaks against. We are called to love one another deeply and equally. However, we must be conscious to assure that this deep love for one another is in line with, rather than in contradiction to, Christ’s love for us and our Love for him. In other words any love that drives us to commit evil or hateful acts towards another person is not true love. Christ loved all of us and this love led him to the cross; in his perfect way of loving He even forgave His persecutors. St. Teresa is calling us to that perfect love, a love that sees beyond any hurt and offenses.
Let us resolve to love each other perfectly, to make God the focus of all of our relationships. I pray dear readers that we continue to grow in this love more and more everyday and I ask you to pray for me that I too may continue to grow in perfect love.
- Florida, United States
- I am a Hopeful Bride of Christ and I long for the day I can dedicate all of my life to Him. I have been actively discerning religious life for about 4 years now and I have been accepted to enter the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church. I hope to begin formation soon and beg your prayers that my student loans do not keep me from entering. With your help and prayers I hope that my entrance to the SMMC will soon be reality. Rest assured that you are all in my thoughts and prayers - most especially those young men and women discerning their vocations, whether to the religious life, priesthood or married life. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I continue this journey toward Him.