From The Hand of Fr. Aaron Ferris…March 19, 2017

Doing penance as work of love has many dimensions. Last week we looked at penance in terms of growing self-control and our growing ability to give ourselves fully to another person. The more we are in control of ourselves, the more we can fully, truly love another person. This ability to love another with more of ourselves is manifest in the very works of penance. Not only do we train ourselves and gain mastery over ourselves, but we also manifest our love by the very penances and disciplines.

We have all heard any number of banal love songs in which the singer professes that he would climb the highest mountain, swim the deepest ocean, and cross the hottest desert, all for the one he loves. It is a nice sentiment to be sure, but would he actually do any of it? Well, the works of penance and discipline that we are called to make a part of our daily lives are just this, they are our daily climbing of mountains, swimming of oceans, and crossing of deserts. Fasting or some other form of penance and discipline may not be all that difficult, but they are the daily ways we make our sacrifices for the one we love.

These expressions of love are in some ways more important than any grand gesture of love. They are more important because they are a part of our everyday lives. There is nothing wrong with a grand gesture of love, but our daily lives and our relationships are not fully sustained and nourished by such grand gestures. Just as in marriage you need the everyday sacrifices and expressions of love to build up the marriage over time, so in our relationship with God.

God shows us the truth of this. God has made the grand gestures of love (creating us, dying for us, etc.), but He continues His works of love in our lives. He humbles Himself for us daily in the Eucharist so that He might be food for our souls. He pours forth his grace upon us, enabling us to live each day as His sons and daughters. He does this and much more each and every day.

Following our Lords example, we are invited to love Him in return with our daily offerings of ourselves in penance and discipline. There will be occasions for the grand gestures of love and self-gift, but each and every day we can grow in our loving relationship with the Lord through our daily sacrifices and disciplines.

Rev. Aaron Ferris
Rev. Aaron Ferris
Rev. Aaron R. Ferris Ordination Date: June 6, 2009 Pastor, St. Anthony Parish (Saranac) and St. Mary’s Parish (Lowell) 402 Amity Street Lowell, MI 49331 Phone: 616-897-9820
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