Today we are told very clearly that Christ has come from God the Father. Jesus speaks in a simple unmistakable language. We are to gather from this that our love for Him merits for us the love of the Father. It therefore follows that whatever we will ask the Father in Jesus’ name will be given us. Jesus insists that it is not He that asks the Father for us, but rather that the Father hears us directly. We have become His children through the merits of Jesus.
Reflecting upon this magnificent gift and honor that God has placed upon us we must seriously consider the words of St. James in today’s epistle: “Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” We end his epistle today with the admonition to keep ourselves unspotted from this world.
This is what is fitting and becoming for the children of God. Nothing less will do. We must love Jesus with the love of preference. Putting Him above all else – even ourselves. This love for Him will merit for us the gift of adoption as children of God. The love of God is measured by the degree in which we keep His word. He has clearly explained to us that if we love Him we will keep His word. Likewise, that His word, is the word of the Father. For Jesus and the Father are One.
So it behooves us to live perfectly because our Heavenly Father is perfect. We must direct our thoughts, words, and actions toward this ultimate goal. Our lives have been given to us for no other reason than to draw closer and closer to God. We must constantly have our thoughts and desires lifted up to Him.
St. Paul has admonished us that whatever we do, we should do it for the love of God. It does not matter if we eat or fast, sleep or keep vigil, work or play, etc. as long as whatever it is we do we do for the love of God. We must focus ourselves upon Him. This is the love of Jesus that will merit the Heavenly Father hearing us. In this manner it becomes clearer that whatever we ask in Jesus’ name will be given to us.
The reason seems clear enough, the more that we love Jesus and conform ourselves to Him, the more our petitions will be for nothing except what is already God’s will. We in this manner put into effect the command to seek first the kingdom of Heaven and its Justice; we then have no fear that everything else that we need will be given to us besides.
We see in the lives of the saints a clear example of how we are to love God. St. Francis perfected this love in himself, and left us with his example of following Christ, and detaching himself from the world. Espousing holy poverty, St. Francis was able to focus all his attention upon doing God’s will. Because of holy poverty he was free from the cares of the world that so burden the rest of society. His reward was that he never lacked for the necessities of his body, but much more importantly his soul soared to unimaginable heights. He bears the title of “Seraphic Saint.” His prayers were so perfect as they only asked for that which God was already prepared to do. His praise for God was continual in every hour of his day. St. Francis saw all of God’s creation as a great book revealing to him the many splendid and wonderful aspects of God.
The seal of God’s love for St. Francis is manifested in his body by the privilege of bearing the very wounds of Christ. St. Francis never shied away from pain or suffering, but rather embraced it for the love of God. In every way he tried to be like Jesus; he always took to heart the words of God and applied them directly to himself. In this manner St. Francis became the very mirror of Christ. He resembled Jesus so closely in this life that he merited to be heard in his prayers and to share an eternal glory in heaven with Jesus.