“As I Love You”

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I recently came across an old Baltimore Catechism tucked away in a drawer. Opening to the first lesson I recognized the familiar Question Number Six: “Why did God make you?” And the answer just spilled out of my memory: “God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven.” The current Catechism uses similar language.  

So God created us to be happy, which is probably why we all want to be happy. And the way to happiness is, in a word, love. Sounds simple, but it’s not. Jesus says: “Love one another as I love you.”  

The love of Jesus for us is best expressed in our churches by the image of the crucifix. The love that leads to happiness is first of all humble. It’s given to us even though we don’t deserve it. So we give our love to others who don’t always deserve it either.  

The love of Jesus involves suffering. We need look no further than the Cross. When we love the unlovable, it’s difficult for us, but our suffering is a communion with the suffering of Jesus.  

And finally, the love of God for us is a surrender. Jesus surrendered himself to the cross, to sinners, and to us. We continue his eternal crucifixion by our sins. But he rises again eternally to forgive us and restore our hope. In the same way we surrender to one another in love, assured of the victory of the Cross. The love that leads to happiness is present, constant, and enduring.  

You want to be happy? Humbly love others as Jesus loves you.  

© Liturgical Press.

Fr. Paul Boudreau

Paul Boudreau is a retired priest of the Diocese of Norwich in Connecticut. He is an award-winning author of books and essays on the Catholic faith.

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