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Wednesday, March 2, 2005

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Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9
Psalm 147
Matthew 5:17-19

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command performance

"Whoever fulfills and teaches these commands shall be great in the kingdom of God." —Matthew 5:19

Many years ago, I told my little daughter to pick up the mess on her bedroom floor. An hour later, I checked her room. "Daddy, daddy!" she exclaimed. "I cleaned my floor as you told me. And look, I also made my bed and dusted my shelf and cleaned my desk!" My daughter kept my command and far exceeded it because of her desire to please her beloved daddy.

The Old Covenant contained 612 commandments to be "carefully" observed (Dt 4:6). Furthermore, Jesus has raised the demands of these commands to a much higher level of fulfillment. He also requires us to obey not only the letter of His commands (Mt 5:17ff), but also the spirit (see 2 Cor 3:6).

To fulfill the letter and spirit of these noble commands, we need the Holy Spirit. The "just demands of" God's commands are only fulfilled in the Spirit (Rm 8:4). In the Holy Spirit, the love of God is poured out in our hearts (Rm 5:5). With love for God overflowing in our hearts, we focus on pleasing God (cf Rm 8:8). The Spirit leads us to "cry out, 'Abba!' (that is, 'Father!')" (Rm 8:15)

As my daughter's love for me kept her joyfully focused on pleasing me by keeping my command, so our Spirit-inspired love for God fills us with the desire to please Him. "The love of God consists in this: that we keep His commandments — and His commandments are not burdensome" when we love Him wholeheartedly (1 Jn 5:3). In the Spirit, tell the Lord: "I love Your command" (Ps 119:127). Then keep and exceed His commands.

Prayer:  Father, "I will delight in Your commands, which I love" (Ps 119:47). I delight in You and will love You with abandon.

Promise:  "He has strengthened the bars of your gates; He has blessed your children within you." —Ps 147:13

Praise:  Louise's love for God so abounded that she offered Him her husband, her child, her health. Her faith only became stronger when He took all three.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Giles H. Pater, August 18 8, 2004

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 23, 2004