This Easter season, I want to touch on the exodus, the ongoing rekindling of our first love. The theme of our first love is so important, in order for us to remain fervent, in order for us to not to lose the fire of desire for God, to have a hunger for God’s holiness; to want him with passion, to be passionate about God in His love for us.
That first love is paramount, it’s so crucial because as St. Paul says, we can do all that we’re called to do, we can do so many things out of generosity, and practice many different types of virtues with God’s help; we can spend ourselves and exhaust ourselves doing, doing, and doing, but if we’ve lost our first love we’ve lost everything. If we’ve lost our passion we’ve become slaves.
We’re just doing because we have to and because were supposed to. As servants of God, we have to be on guard against that spirit of slavery. St. Paul says we’re called to be slaves of righteousness for sanctification, but that’s not meant to be a burden, a bondage, a heaviness, or a frustration. It’s supposed to be the opposite – it’s freedom. To be a slave through self-denial is meant to produce the fruit of freedom. If we are doing it in the right spirit, the spirit of love, the spirit of a child of God, who becomes a slave of righteousness, not because they have to, but because they want to, then there is freedom.
That’s not always easy to preserve. We can start off that way but as we all know, with the facts of life, with interpersonal relationships and human nature being what it is, the daily inconveniences and challenges, we could lose that spark after a while. We always have to go back to the source; we always have to go back to the heart, to the fountain- our first love.
Why am I here? Why did I let God choose this for me? Why did I let myself get into this? We have to go back to our first love and discover the gift in our consent. This relationship is not a curse, but a blessing, and I need to keep that blessing beautiful and fresh that I may be the face of mercy for others. Otherwise, I could become a whole different kind of face. If we don’t process it, we transmit it. If you don’t work through it, it’ll come out eventually. It’ll come out. The whole purpose of why we have prayer specifically set apart for us in the day is because that’s our special time to be able to draw near to the fountain of God’s love, the living water, daily – especially in the Blessed Sacrament. We must always draw back to that fountain.
SOURCE: Consecrated Life Retreat, New Mexico 2016, transcribed by Teresa Linda, ocds
Copyright 2017, Father Robert Barcelos, OCD