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Thursday, May 2, 2002

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St. Athanasius

Acts 15:7-21
Psalm 96
John 15:9-11

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what makes love christian?

"As the Father has loved Me, so I have loved you. Live on in My love. You will live in My love if you keep My commandments, even as I have kept My Father's commandments, and live in His love." —John 15:9-10

"They will know we are Christians by our love" (see Jn 13:35). This inspiring statement is incomplete because many people are not Christians and yet they have true love for others. The uniqueness of Christian love is based on it being an act of obedience to the Father's commandments (Jn 15:10) — especially His command to forgive and love our enemies (see Mt 5:44ff). Only a Christian prays: "Father, forgive them" (Lk 23:34). Only a Christian understands love as from and to God the Father. Because our Father's love is the unique, perfect essence of divinity, it can extend to where love has rarely gone before. Love can be for our enemies, those who have not loved us and may never love us.

Thus, love from the Father is unconditional and mysterious. Our Father's love for His and our enemies reveals not only that He is loving but that He is Love (1 Jn 4:8, 16). This is the love that we can live in forever. This is Christian love.

Prayer:  Father, may they know I'm a Christian by my likeness to Your Son in loving my enemies.

Promise:  "God, Who reads the hearts of men, showed His approval by granting the Holy Spirit to them just as He did to us. He made no distinction between them and us, but purified their hearts by means of faith also." —Acts 15:8-9

Praise:  St. Athanasius worked tirelessly to combat heresy and wrote prolifically on the theology of Redemption. He suffered grave misunderstandings, lawsuits, and persecutions, but he remained true to Christ till his death.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape on Love on audio AV 58-1 or video V-58.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Giles H. Pater, November 15, 2001

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, November 16, 2001