For Christians, proof of deliverance is love toward others, after the example of Christ. This includes concrete acts of charity, out of our material abundance.
Living a life of faith in Jesus and of Christian love assures us of abiding in God no matter what our feelings may at times tell us. Our obedience gives us confidence in prayer and trust in God’s judgment. This obedience includes our belief in Christ and love for one another.
Read each sentence in the scripture below as a separate thought … absorb it. Invite the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart.
This is the message you have heard from the beginning:
we should love one another,
unlike Cain who belonged to the Evil One
and slaughtered his brother.
Why did he slaughter him?
Because his own works were evil,
and those of his brother righteous.
Do not be amazed, then, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.
We know that we have passed from death to life
because we love our brothers.
Whoever does not love remains in death.
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer,
and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him.
The way we came to know love
was that he laid down his life for us;
so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
If someone who has worldly means
sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion,
how can the love of God remain in him?
Children, let us love not in word or speech
but in deed and truth. Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth
and reassure our hearts before him
in whatever our hearts condemn,
for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything.
Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us,
we have confidence in God.
How do you lay down your life for others as Jesus examples to us? One way is to practice the Virtues of a Catholic Man. Another way is to be a living sacrifice for your wife and those in your household. It is not easy, yet Christ led by example and so should we as Catholic Men. Go to Mass every Sunday and bring your family with you, and when you receive the Holy Eucharist bring yourself to the Alter as a living sacrifice. The Mass is not so much what we get out of it, but that we bring ourselves into Communion with the Lord Jesus.
My wife and I have in raising our children always sat in the front pew. From the moment we had our first child we have always sat in the front pew (interesting how no matter when you show up for Mass there is always room in the front pew). When our kids first acted up in church we moved to the very back pew, and they didn’t like it. We told them that when they do behave we sit in the front pew where they can see everything. Now they are young adults, their Faith is important to them as they have their own ministries in everyday life. We always went to Mass as a family, sports and other events took second place.
“Do not be amazed, then, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.” Was it St. Paul who asked at every moment ” do I go Left or do I go Right”?
What direction do you take in the path of life or have you gone? Are you consistent, or do you act like a Chameleon changing your ‘color’ with your environment?
– Frank J. Casella is an artistic photographer and co-founder of Catholic Chicago Men’s Forum.