by Catherine Doherty.
Love has no limits.
Christian love is allowing Christ to love through our own hearts. Without his loving us, none of us could love the way he wants us to. That means emptying ourselves from our self-centeredness, from the desire to have all our needs fulfilled. It means that we get busy filling the needs of others. We must accept each person as they are, without wanting to change or to manipulate them.
We must open the doors of our hearts and open the doors of our homes. We must serve them. Words are not enough. But a welcome through an open door into an open heart, this will show God’s love.
To be a Christian means to incarnate, actualize the teachings of the gospel. We need Christ’s vision for dealing with every event of our lives in the light of his teaching.
When we commit ourselves totally to Christ, then we will be sensitive to others. Most certainly, we will be involved with our neighbors; to love is to be involved.
People today are crying out for recognition. Each wants to be noticed, just because he is a human being, a person.
Each person is a brother or sister in Christ; each must be ‘recognized’. Each person needs a token of friendship and love, be it only a smile, a nod of the head. Sometimes it may require the total availability of one person to another. Such love and recognition must always be given with deep reverence, irrespective of economic or social status.
Reverence, understanding and hospitality of the heart—these are immediate, intense needs of people today. We can say to them, "My brother, my sister, I am here. Come. I have water and a towel. Sit down. Let me wash your tired feet, which have brought you here. I know you. I revere you. I recognize you as my family. I love you."
These meetings are the true crossroads of time and history. It is a benediction and a joy in itself that persons come to us.
What the world needs most today is the hospitality of the heart. Hospitality of the heart means accepting all others as they are, allowing them to make themselves at home in one’s heart.
To be at home in another person’s heart means touching love, the love of a brother and sister in Christ. Touching the love of another means realizing that God loves us. For it is through the other—our neighbor, our brother—that we can begin to understand the love of God.
Our technological age has begotten a terrible loneliness. We must begin to give the hospitality of the heart. In other words, we must open ourselves to a sharing of friendship that is rooted in the very heart of Christ whom we call our friend. We have to be open to the other, share with the other, express our love for the other. This can only be done if we open the doors of our hearts.
Each man must have a friend. But what is friendship? It is never exclusive. It is two people, hand in hand as it were, going to God—but never forming a closed circuit and simply feeding on each other. They always have one hand free to hold anyone who comes into that friendship.
Greater love than this no man has that he lay down his life for his friend.
—Excerpted from Chap. 4 of The Gospel Without Compromise, MH Publications, out of print.
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