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Dear brothers and sisters,
Expounding on His discourse on “the vine and the branches,” Jesus spells out concretely what it means to remain in Him. “Remain in my love.” Rooted in God’s love - “as the Father loves me” - it brings with it a command and a duty. We are to love one another as we have been loved.
In her message, Our Lady promises to form us “to an ever greater and purer love for God” (117 d), which should guide us at every moment and in each of our actions (117 b). We will read Message 117, “I Will Teach You to Love,” taken from the book “To the Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons.”
I. GOSPEL READING (John 15: 9-17)
Jesus said to his disciples: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.”
Points for Reflection
Jesus begins by telling His disciples: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.” His love for them is rooted in God’s love. John explains this in the Second Reading: “not that we have loved God, but that He loved us” by sending His Son as sacrificial offering for our sins (1 John 4:7-10). Jesus is the greatest manifestation of the Father’s love. It “shows no partiality,” Peter points out in the First Reading, seeing the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Gentiles as well (Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48).
In Jesus, God’s great love for all, Jews and Gentiles alike, is revealed and fulfilled. By faith in Him, sealed in the sacrament of baptism, we are made children of God and heirs to eternal inheritance, bringing us all to the original design of God for man: “in His image and likeness” (Gen. 1:27). We are begotten of God and we know God (1 Jn. 4-7). This is the wondrous work of God, which our Psalm sings with joy and praise (Ps. 98:1-4), bringing His joy in us and making our joy complete.
The fact that we are begotten by the love of God is a divine gift to us that brings with it a command and a duty. We are to love one another as we have been loved. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Here, however, there is something much greater than friendship. It is His unconditional love. “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you.” He “chose” us and loved us despite everything. As we have been loved, we, too, are to love unconditionally. This is how Jesus lays out the path to be fruitful and perfect in joy.
January 13, 1977
Points for Reflection
Our Lady also begins by telling us about Her love for us. “It pleases my motherly Heart to say it to you more and more often” (117 a). Her Heart is that of a mother’s, so real and living (21 b). Even when things go wrong for us - if we have been wounded, have fallen many times, have doubted, or have betrayed our calling - Her love is so assuring. “Do not become discouraged, because I love you” (83 t). Such is Her joy in loving us, because Her mission from Her Son is to beget us into His likeness (237 g), to make each one of us living copies her of her Son, so purified and strengthened that no one will ever again succeed in snatching us from his love (83 w-x). “From now on, it should be love alone that guides you at every moment and in each of your actions” (117 b).
The only thing she asks of us is to completely entrust ourselves to Her Immaculate Heart. “No creature has ever been able to love the Lord as has your heavenly Mother” (117 e). By this act, we “enter” ever more deeply into the depths of Her Heart, where She gives us the grace to “live” habitually “in Her,” filling our hearts with the plenitude of Her love (186 g). In our thirst for perfect love, our hearts spontaneously seek Her Heart, in which She forms us to an ever greater and purer love for God (117 d, f) and love for others. “I will give to your heart my own capacity to love. I will help you to divest yourself of every other yearning, to bring you to a simple, continuous and pure act of love” (117 g). By this, Her own Heart may also love, within our hearts, the Most Holy and Divine Triune God.
God bless you all!
Yours in the Immaculate Heart,
This reflection is shared with all cenacle and other prayer groups (priests and laity), communities and Marian organizations, associations and movements within and outside of the Philippines, with Our Lady’s words transcribed verbatim for those who do not have copies of the messages. This may also be shared with private individuals for their personal use.
Our Lady's messages are taken from the book: "To the Priests, Our Lady's Beloved Sons", a compilation of 604 messages in the form of locutions given by the Blessed Virgin Mary through Fr. Stefano Gobbi of Italy.
Imprimatur: Bishop Donald W. Montrose, D.D., 1998
Archbishop Francesco Cuccarese, 2007