Gift: Piety (Reverence) – With the gift of reverence, sometimes called piety, we have a deep sense of respect for God and the Church. A person with reverence recognizes our total reliance on God and comes before God with humility, trust, and love.
Reading: Be holy, for I, the LORD your God, am holy.* * You shall not hate any of your kindred in your heart. Reprove your neighbor openly so that you do not incur sin because of that person.Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your own people. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:2b,17-18)
And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’* Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25:40-41)
Observation: Today’s readings are revealing to me that it is not just the strict adherence to the law that makes us holy, it is the heart that lies behind the adherence to the law. I would hope that God could see that my heart is pure and I am trying to follow His will and not my own. I hope that the just judge would not see fit to place me on his left and the words, “Depart from me” would not be directed at me. I can’t even imagine how sad that it would be to hear those words from God.
Personification: Love After reading the admonition to love your neighbor as yourself from the first reading, it would only make sense to want to display the fruit of love, unless I was hoping to end up in the fire that was prepared for the devil and his angels. It sounds like an easy proposition, to display love when there are so many people in need of it, but it is not so easy when the people who you are closest to, make it so hard to love them. I am the type of person that enjoys a good hug or a sweet kiss from my children as a sign of their love and mine, but often it is discipline that I have to give them first and be patient for them to listen and then eventually come back to me.
Prayer: God, I know that you are disciplining me to be able to love you the way you want me to, help me to accept your discipline and learn to love you the way you want me to. I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit. Amen.