VOICE FROM THE SOUTH
By FR. EMETERIO BARCELON, SJ
The past week we have been bombarded in our readings of the Gospels with love of God and neighbor. Today is the feast of St. Andrew Bobola, a Jesuit priest, the saint who inspired us during the novitiate to dream of martyrdom. Our Lord Jesus said you are not of this world. So the world does not like you. And it will harry you and persecute you.
You are not theirs. For some like St. Andrew Bobola, it would mean martyrdom. He would be persecuted and made to suffer. For each one of us it would be different. Some would suffer greatly but some would not. But in any case the Lord says, “I chose you. You did not choose Me.” All we have to do is to be faithful in answering this choosing of us in our way of life, not only the religious but each one of us, whether lies or consecrated to the Lord. He has chosen us for a certain purpose. “I have chosen you.” All we have to do is to reciprocate His choice. Love is choice.
“If you love Me you will follow My commandments.” There is an equation of love with following or choosing to do what the Lord wants us to do. Love then is a choice. If the feelings come, then good. They help. But loving does not always have to come with feelings. Love is a choice, a decision almost as dry as one plus one is two. To love is to choose. To do what is the good or the wishes of the beloved. To love God above all things means to choose whatever God wants us to do. And to love the neighbor is to choose what is for the good of the neighbor. Love then is a choice.
Love of God is also a reaction to the choice that the Lord has made. He chose us. He may have chosen us for martyrdom or some other life. But be assured it is not what the world wants or what the world rewards. It may coincide with what the world gives but the Lord assures us that as that world did not treat Him well, it will also not treat us well, since he has chosen us to be his chosen ones.
Love is a choice. The Lord loves us and has chosen us. We should be prepared to be treated like He was treated. When He was in this world, He was crucified. But the world may treat us differently. Whatever it is, we accept what the world will do to us. What we need is to love the Lord above all, therefore to choose whatever the Lord allows us to suffer or enjoy. Ours is to reprobate the love of the Lord.
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Coming to COVID-19, I have wondered why the pharmaceuticals have not said anything about shark liver oil (Squamalene, or squalene). The shark is impervious to all viruses. Should we not be taking it as a preventive? It is available in our drug stores. (Mostly processed in Japan.) The sharks in the Mindanao area do not attack humans.