Sunday, January 6, 2013

Do I Love God's Commandments, or Are They Often Just a Hindrance?

Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments (Psa 112:1 RV). The question that bores itself to the core of my heart is: Do I continuously delight greatly in the commandments of God, or are they often a hindrance to my desires? The Psalms hammer it home that I must delight in the laws of God. Common sense tells me that I must love the commandments of God. If I do not, there can be no love of God. Dislike of the commandments of God necessitates a dislike/hatred of the author of the commandments—God. There is no way that I can say I love God but disagree with His commandments. If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments (Joh 14:15 RV). If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love (Joh 15:10 RV). That puts it pretty succinctly. If I attempt to obey God’s commandments when there is no love in the commandments, in essence I am trying to earn salvation; it is a work entirely of my strength. This is why the Son was killed.

Now that I know that I must love the commandments of God, I have to do some honest examination of myself, examining myself to find out whether I truly love God’s commandments or whether I really consider them to be a hindrance to my true desires. At first blush, I am tempted to acknowledge them a hindrance. When I first read/hear His commandment, my first reaction is resistance. On the heel of the initial reaction of resistance is the emotion of fear.

Although, many times, I am tempted to ignore this and sweep it underneath the proverbial rug, I must not; I must face the cold, hard facts. I know that God’s laws are good, framed out of all that is Love. This brings me to prayer, confessing that I do not always love His commandments and asking for the grace to love them. Then comes the consolation of Romans: For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I know not: for not what I would, that do I practise; but what I hate, that I do. But if what I would not, that I do, I consent unto the law that it is good. So now it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwelleth in me. For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me, but to do that which is good is not.

For the good which I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I practise. But if what I would not, that I do, it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwelleth in me. I find then the law, that, to me who would do good, evil is present. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me out of the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then I myself with the mind serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin (Rom 7:14-25 RV).  T.T.

This theological reflection courtesy of the parishioners of St Paul Catholic Church in Pensacola, Florida: