By Christopher Wells
Remaining in the love of Christ was the focus of Pope Francis’ reflection at the Regina Coeli on Sunday.
A challenging program
“Dwelling in the current of the love of God, taking up a stable residence there, is the condition for ensuring that our love does not lose its ardour or audacity,” the Pope said. Like Jesus, and in Him, we must welcome the Father’s love, without separating ourselves from it through selfishness and sin. “This is a challenging program,” the Pope said, but not an impossible one.
In order to do so, Pope Francis continued, we must first recognize that the love of Christ is “not a superficial feeling,” but rather, “a fundamental attitude of the heart,” which is shown by observing Jesus’ commandments. “This love,” he said, “must be realized in everyday life,” in our attitudes and actions, or else it will prove illusory.
How to love one another
The commandments of Jesus are summed up in the command to “love one another” as Jesus has loved us. The Pope said that “the other” we are called to love is “the one I encounter along the way,” those who challenge us, those who “await our readiness to listen, to take a part of the journey together.” We must be open, he said, to “every one of our brothers and sisters, whoever they might be, and in whatever situation they might find themselves.”
This love, he continued, must be a part of our everyday lives. We are called to care for the elderly “as a precious treasure”; to provide “every assistance possible to those who are sick,” even when they are approaching the end of their lives; to always welcome the unborn. This, Pope Francis said, is why “life must always be defended and loved, from conception to its natural end.”
Forming the Heart of Jesus within us
But we cannot love one another as Christ loved us unless we have His own Heart within us. “The Eucharist, in which we are called to participate each Sunday, is intended to form within us the Heart of Christ,” the Pope said, “so that our whole life might be guided by His generous attitude.”