Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (February 3, 2019)

In today’s reading of the First Letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul tells us what it means to love. St. Francis de Sales based his whole life and his teachings on love:

By love we live, feel and move. All our affections follow our love. Love is the life of the heart. As our heart is, so are our actions. Those who open themselves to God’s love in their heart have God’s love in their actions. Divine love can do all things and endure all things when we allow it to reign in our hearts. A heart that has holy love lives a clean, healthy, new life. This new life is both lively and life giving. It is the bond of perfection.

God’s love is always present in us. Unfortunately, we do not see it in ourselves. Because we do not see the presence of God’s love in us, it is easy to forget. We then behave as if God is very distant from us. God’s love is present in a most particular way in your heart and in the very center of your spirit. From time to time, retire into the solitude of your own heart, even while engaged in discussions or transactions. Talk with God. Other people cannot enter this mental solitude since they are not standing around your heart, which remains alone in the presence of God.

Our life on earth is like the perpetual, diverse motions of the waves of the sea. Some days we are buoyed up in hope, and sometimes we are cast down in fear. Even though everything changes within or around us, we must be like the mariner’s needle that always points to the North Star. Our will must remain looking, striving, and aspiring toward the love of God. Nothing can disturb or move us from God’s love, since our resolution never to forsake God’s merciful love keeps us steady amid the various changes brought to us by the conditions of this life.  Thus do not lose courage, nor let your spirit sink amid contradictions. God will never abandon the care of your heart, for God’s love is eternal.

(Adapted from the writings of St. Francis de Sales.)