“A person should not be half-hearted in giving herself to God but whole and entire”
This term, in this Loreto Year of Sincerity, I plan to offer a reflection each week on one of the many profound and inspiring sayings that we are blessed to have at the heart of our community. These are the sayings of Mary Ward, Mother Gonzaga Barry, Teresa Ball and other Loreto Sisters whose words and lives are so precious to us.
This week, I offer some thoughts on Mary Ward’s words: “A person should not be half-hearted in giving herself to God but whole and entire”. What might they mean for us and how might they take us more deeply into the heart of God?
Anyone who has ever fallen in love knows that it is all-consuming! Being in love transforms the way we see the world. Even the expression itself, to fall in love, suggests that this is something involving the wholeness of who we are, perhaps even inevitable and beyond our own control, and that something happens to the lover. There is an inner change, perhaps a vulnerability, a new way of seeing and certainly a new way of acting. Mary Ward’s words speak to me of this ‘falling in love’. So let’s explore a little of this connection between whole-hearted giving to God and falling in love and just what it might be saying to us.
Mark, in his Gospel, tells us of the response of Jesus to the scribe who asked him which was the first and greatest of all the commandments. Jesus said to him: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, all your strength and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:28 – 31). We are all familiar with the centrality of love in our Christian tradition. Love is the key ethical teaching of Christianity and is the measure of what it is to live a Christian life: “By this all people will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). And John, in his first letter, states so beautifully: “God is love and all who live in love, live in God, and God lives in them” (1 John 4:16). This love we are called to have for one another is about forgiveness, service, respect, dignity, justice, and it is to be a love for all people, not just those we like or those close to us. But what of this commandment to love God that Jesus identifies as the greatest of all the commandments?
Ms Kerry McCullough
Spirituality and Liturgy Coordinator