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Friday, June 1, 2001

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Pentecost Novena - Day 8
St. Justin

Acts 25:13-21
Psalm 103
John 21:15-19

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love in the spirit (col 1:8)

Jesus asked: "Do you love Me?" —John 21:15, 16, 17

"God is Love" (1 Jn 4:16), and the purpose of life is to live in love and in God (see 1 Jn 4:16). If we have everything but love, we have nothing (see 1 Cor 13:1-3). "What we are aiming at in this warning is the love that springs from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith" (1 Tm 1:5). "There are in the end three things that last: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love" (1 Cor 13:13).

However, our fallen human nature is not inclined toward love but toward selfishness. Even if we want to love, we first need faith, virtue, discernment, self-control, perseverance, piety, and care for our brothers and sisters to have the basis to love (2 Pt 1:5-7). Furthermore, as we near the end of the world, Christ's final coming, and Judgment Day, conditions will be such that "because of the increase of evil, the love of most will grow cold" (Mt 24:12).

The meaning of life is love, but we are far from loving. Consequently, we are in an impossible situation. Nevertheless, there is hope. "And this hope will not leave us disappointed, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us" (Rm 5:5). If we are docile to the Holy Spirit, He will produce the fruit of love in our lives (Gal 5:22). Then, when Jesus asks us throughout life, in death, and on Judgment Day: "Do you love Me?" (Jn 21:15, 16, 17), we will be able to respond: "Yes, Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, I love You." Come, Holy Spirit!

Prayer:  Father, on this eighth day of the Pentecost novena, I pray that I will never lose my first love for You (Rv 2:4). May I always love You more and never love You less.

Promise:  "Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all my being, bless His holy name." —Ps 103:1

Praise:  St. Justin, when questioned about the alleged rewards in heaven, responded: "It is not an idea I have; it is something I know well and hold to be most certain."

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, January 4, 2001

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 24, 2001