This will not tackle the whole talk I delivered during the UAE Handmaids Congress, but I’ll give a brief of how it goes.
The session talks about LOVE.
Where it all began, how it is used in the world right now and what kind of love we must possess and do.
It all begin three ways:
First, From the beginning -we know God the Father being the creator of the heaven and earth. He loved us from the very beginning. “We love, because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19). Pope Francis was once asked by a child, “What did God do before creating the world?” The Holy Father replied, “Before creating the world, God loved. Second, Love until the end – through Jesus – we know love because of Him being in the cross. And lastly, Love with a human heart – through the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
We also learn that love has been used in different forms, that’s why it is called Crazy Stupid Love.
Love Confused : through Jealousy, Lust and Comfort & Security.
Love Misused: through False Mercy, False Kindness and Abuse.
Now, the call for us is to BE LOVE.
We cannot be love itself, only God is Love. But we can conduits of that love. When we imitate God in His love, people concretely feel God who is Love through us.
We strive to imitate God who is love, whom his love was manifested through the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ. As said by Brother Frank Padilla in his book Families in the Holy Spirit: Agape love is to love as Jesus loves. Jesus himself gives us the commandment: “love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” (Jn 13:34). It gave up everything for the sake of the beloved. As said by St. Paul: “So be imitators of God, a beloved children, and live in love, a Christ loved us and handed himself over for us a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.” Eph 5:1-2
The last part of our theme exhorts us, “Let all that you do be done in love.” (1 Cor 16:14). We become bearers of God’s love through A.G.A.P.E.
I will not go into details, as you can see them on the video which I will link below. This time, I’ll only share the stories to each letter representing AGAPE.
A – Accept yourself.
First Story: STORY OF ESTHER
From the book of Esther (10 chapters) 2 main characters Esteher at Mordecai + Drunken King & Haman.
Esther, an orphan who lives w/ his cousin Mordecai in a Jewish community inside a Persian empire. The king deposes his queen dahil hindi nagpakita at the end of long feast that lasted for 100+ days. So, he held a beauty contest & then enter Ester who won and the king was obsessed with her & elevated her to be the new Q of persia. On the side, Mordecai heard that there is a plot of murder the King. So he informed Ester & Ester told the King – so Modecai gets credit for saving the king.
Then Haman a high level position in the kingdom who had a friction with Mordecai and during one drinking session with Haman & the king who eventually made a decree to kill all Jews. It was with Mordecai & Ester saved the Jews as the kind remember that Mordecai saved his life..
G – Grant forgiveness.
Second Story: STORY OF MARIA GORETTI
MARIA GORETTI is 3rd of the 6 siblings of an Italian family back in 1890. He difficult poor family life becomes worst when her father died because of malaria. The family survived by working the field of a Count – Giovanni Serenelli and his teenager son Alessandro. Maria would do chores for them.
She goes on trips to sell eggs and chicken & when kind neighbours/merchants would give her some treats, she would bring this to her bros & sisters.
During those she would visit the shrine of Our Lady of Graces. Her family being too poor to pay for Masses in her father’s memory, every night Maria would recite the five Mysteries of the Rosary for the repose of her father’s soul.
In June of 1902, 20-year-old Alessandro Serenelli began ordering 11-year-old Maria to perform various difficult chores, at hindi cya na sasatisfy- On 5-July 1902 – he asked Maria to go with him in the bedroom and Maria refused by Alesandro pulled her & closed the door, asking her to submit to him, but she told him that it would be a sin. Enraged, Alessandro stabbed her 14 times in her heart, lungs, and intestines, and then fled to his bedroom, where he pretended to be asleep.
Maria was then rushed to the hospital & survived a 20 hour surgery without anaesthesia. When asked Asked if she forgave her murderer, she replied, “Yes, for the love of Jesus I forgive him…and I want him to be with me in Paradise.” She died on July 6. Alesandro was sentenced to 30 years in prison and on 28 year he was released where his first action going out was to visit Maria’s mom and asked for forgiveness. He then worked in a Capuchin monastery & become a Franciscan lay brother.
In 1950, she was canonized in a ceremony attended by a quarter million people, including her mother, the first mother ever to see her child canonized.
G – Grant forgiveness.
Third Story: STORY OF MARTHA & MARY
At the Home of Martha and Mary
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
St. Martha who was corrected by Jesus for judging her sister Mary: Jesus showed a loving correction.
P – Pursue the truth with love.
Fourth Story: STORY OF EDITH STEIN
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein). At 14 yo she stop believing in God – she had a brilliant mind and pursued Philosophy – but she became fascinated with the autobiography of St. Teresa de Avila which led her conversion even if her mother questioned it.
She was a Jew who converted to Catholicism and was ordained a Carmelite nun. She died in a concentration camp in Auschwitz and was subsequently declared a Catholic martyr and saint.
When she made her eternal profession on 21 April 1938, she had the words of St. John of the Cross printed on her devotional picture: “Henceforth my only vocation is to love.” Her final work was to be devoted to this author. The author of Love. Edith was a seeker of truth and a martyr of love.
“Do not accept anything as truth that lacks love and do not accept anything as love that lacks truth. One without the other is a destructive lie.”
– St John Paul The Great (on the canonization of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)
E – Engage in self-sacrificing action.
Fifth Story: St. Gianna Beretta Molla.
She gave up her life to save the life of her child. She was a devout woman and paediatrician who refused a hysterectomy to remove a benign fibroid tumor in her uterus during pregnancy as the procedure would have resulted in the death of her unborn child.
“Let us remember that love lives through sacrifice and is nourished by giving. Without sacrifice there is no love.” – St. Maximilian Kolbe
When we respond to the call of service, we serve not out of obligation but of devotion. This entails obedience, purity of intention and humility. We let others know we are Christians by the way we serve selflessly and give of ourselves.
Mother Theresa was often asked why she spent so much time and energy helping people who were going to die anyway, and most of them not even Christians. Her answer was that she had no choice. She was a Christian, committed to serving Jesus, and Christ identified with the poorest of the poor.
Finally, we look at MARY.
Mary taught us various aspects of the virtue of charity:
- In the Annunciation, her love for God moved her to say yes and to bring the God who is Love into the world.
- In the Visitation to Elizabeth, Mary (while pregnant too) selflessly gave of herself and spent three months helping her aging relative to prepare for the birth of John the Baptist.
- In Bethlehem, she contemplated Love in human form.
- At Cana, she was sensitive to the urgent need of the wedding couple and asked Jesus to help them
- At Calvary, she sacrificed herself to accompany Jesus on the way of the Cross.
- In the Upper Room, she prayed with and for the apostles as they awaited the coming of the Holy Spirit.
In all these, let us allow The Holy Spirit empowers us to keep this love alive by:
· Accepting ourselves, Granting forgiveness, Applying loving correction, Pursuing the truth with love, and Engaging in self-sacrificing action
Through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we pray to the Sacred Heart of Jesus to give us grace to remain founded on love.
<FULL VIDEO to be uploaded soon>
God bless you Creatives!