BY GABRIEL OSU
In the prayer St. Francis of Assisi said; “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me show love.’ Jesus said love uppermost. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the most important commandment. The second most important commandment is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ (Matthew 22:34-40). Paul wrote in I Corithians 13:1-8; love is patient and kind; love is not jealous, love is not puffed-up, love is eternal. St. Francis is stressing to us that Jesus will obey my teaching. My father will love him, and my father and I will come to him and live with him…” then love your neighbour as yourself!
Agape described a unique type of supreme love involving a conscious and deliberate choice to do good for another, a commitment based on the willful choice of the lover, not the qualities of the person receiving the love. Agape love is perhaps best seen in God’s love for the world (John 3:16) And in the love that God calls believers to display. (I Corinthians 13:1-13). When Jesus recalled the greatest of the commandments, both of which to do with love (Matthew 22:34-40) he was calling for agape love, a sustained and conscious choice to graciously serve God, neighbour and self expecting in return. Followers of Christ. Learn this kind of love as God loves them first. He then commands us to live in the same way towards others (I John 3:11-24).
God’s love empowers us to love by choice rather than just emotion or senses, and to sustain our love even in the face of hostility or rejection. God wants to deliver a new kind of love—agape love—to families, workplaces’ and communities through his people. People around you need this kind of touch compassion, love and grace. Love your enemies: Jesus offers his disciples and us, the possibilities of being new people living without the need of the enemies, “where there is no love pour love in, and you will draw out love.” Love your enemies. Love with no conditions.
Peace as used by Francis meant the absence of war and chaos; a right relationship with God or Christ; as well as a good relationship among people; as an individual virtue. The saints said: where there is injury, pardon recovers the person who has wronged you, when you love somebody, and then forgiveness is easy. To love means to forgive and if you forgive you have mercy flowing in your veins. For, in Proverbs 10:12b, it is stated: “Love shall cover the multitudes of sins”. God is merciful to us. Numbers14:18a says: “The lord is long suffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression”. And God “pardon…. The iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy.”
God loves mercy more than “justice” and retribution; he often refrains from justly punishing us. God mercily forgives our sins. Too, we are to be merciful and forgiving. Even God’s forgiveness is balanced with justice. Even erring Christians must repent to be forgiving. Jesus said: you should remember that to err is human, but to forgive is divine. He who forgives ends the quarrel.
St Francis said: “Where there is doubt, faith”. Faith is a belief in the unseen in II Corinthians 5:7 “We walk by faith, not by sight”. Faith is a substantial and real thing.
The importance is in Galatians 5:6 “Nothing availeth any thing (except), faith which worketh by love”. We are saved by faith and (Christians) must live by faith for, we cannot please God without faith.