and purify our love
That's simply because of the tension between our nature and our supernatural goal, not to mention our present wounded human condition that is prone to temptation and sin and to all kinds of weaknesses. We unavoidably contend with these conditions in our earthly life.
We can always start with good intentions and the best of our efforts in anything that we do. But if we do not constantly renew and purify our love for God and neighbor that should inspire all our actions, we simply cannot go the distance.
Somewhere along the way, our energy will weaken, our motives will get warped, our objectives will get displaced. We should be realistic and humble enough to acknowledge this fact of life and do something about it. In this life, the law that we ought to follow is to always renew and purify our love for God and neighbor.
Yes, there is struggle involved. In fact, we are already told by our Christian faith that our life here on earth is a warfare. “The life of man upon earth is a warfare.” (Job 7,1) We need to be always prepared to do battle with the enemies of our soul and of God that undermine our true love.
These enemies are identified as the world itself with its lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and the pride of life and the devil himself. St. Paul reminds us that our spiritual enemies are no joke.
He said that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rules of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in heavenly places.” (Eph 6,12)
To constantly renew and purify our love means to steadily conform our love to the love God has for us as shown to us by Christ and as effected in us through the Holy Spirit. That is why at one point Christ himself said that we have to love one another as he himself has loved us. (cfr. Jn 13,34)
Given our unstable human condition, we need to make constant effort to conform our love to Christ's love that goes all the way to assuming all our sins and offering us his mercy.
Everyday we have to make plans and strategies of how to make our love reflect Christ's love better. This means that we really have to actively look at Christ and follow his example more closely. Like him, we should be willing to do a lot of good and be patient, understanding and merciful with those who do not practice Christian love.
In this, we have to be willing to suffer. That's why the love for the cross is a sure sign that we are truly loving. We have to learn how to overcome our tendency to be self-absorbed and self-centered, interested more in our own good than in the good of the others.
The usual events of our day actually offer us many opportunities to renew and purify our love. There are challenges to tackle, setbacks and disappointments to suffer, etc. These and many others are good sources to conform our love to Christ's love. Let's not take them for granted.
If our love is real, that is, if it truly reflects Christ's love, we will always enjoy a certain sense of peace and joy in spite of the suffering we can encounter. We may die with Christ, but we will surely resurrect with him also.
We need to see to it that everyday, we are conscious of renewing and purifying our love for God and others often. We should never take this for granted.*
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