Reflection – “Love Opens the Doors of Paradise…”

May 2, 2019 – “…Therefore, my children, apostles of my love, may prayer show you the way and the means of spreading the love of my Son-prayer in the most exalted form. My children, also when you strive to live the words of my Son, you are praying. When you love the people whom you meet, you are spreading the love of my Son. It is love that opens the doors of Paradise...”

Loving others isn’t always an easy thing. Even Mother Teresa herself would pray asking Jesus to fill her with His love so that she could practice charity toward others. She once said, “Without God, we are too poor to help the poor.” And that, love cannot be reduced to the indispensable minimum; love demands the maximum!”

This is true. By ourselves, we lack so much. And we live in a world where so much divisiveness is being propagated though media and entertainment. It’s easy to love those we like and like us back, but where is the merit in that, as Jesus tells us. How does that improve things? How are we spreading God’s love if we show kindness and mercy to a select few only, while making quick judgements to the rest?

If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. [Matthew 5:46-48]

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” [Mark 12:29-31]

Love demands the maximum. “It is love that opens the doors of Paradise,” Our Lady tells us. How much turmoil there is in the world because there is no love! But when we strive to love, and to see a brother/sister in others, we are opening the doors of Heaven on earth; a place where souls live in the limitless and fullness of God’s love forever!

Earlier, I decided to refer to St. Faustina’s diary and came upon a conversation between her and Jesus on mercy towards neighbors. Here’s what Jesus told St. Faustina:

My daughter, if I demand through you that people revere my mercy, you should be the first to distinguish yourself by this confidence in My mercy. I demand from you deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse or absolve yourself from it.

I am giving you three ways of exercising mercy toward your neighbor: the first—by deed, the second—by word, the third—by prayer. In these three degrees is contained the fullness of mercy, and it is an unquestionable proof of love for Me. By this means a soul glorifies and pays reverence to My mercy. [742]

Through St. Faustina, Jesus gives us the 3 ways to exercise mercy: Deeds, words, and prayer. This reminds me of a certain scripture reading:

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. [James 2:14-26]

And so let us return to the words of the Blessed Mother:

Therefore, my children, apostles of my love, may prayer show you the way and the means of spreading the love of my Son-prayer in the most exalted form. My children, also when you strive to live the words of my Son, you are praying. When you love the people whom you meet, you are spreading the love of my Son. It is love that opens the doors of Paradise.

We cannot simply say we agree with the words of Jesus, we have to live them also. We have to put faith, prayer, and love into action and not just say it. We need to practice mercy with our good deeds, words, and prayer. We must strive, with Our Lady’s help and guidance, to open the doors of Paradise upon the world!

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