Do you love me more than those good works you do?

The Christian life is not based on "doing good things". This is fine, but above all, we Christians respond with our lives to a choice of love made at Baptism. We say yes to God, we choose God above all else, even ourselves.

September 7, 2021-Reading time: 3 minutes

I often recall a friend's account of her conversion. She called it that, her conversion, as if she had met God "all over again". And she was not a distant person, far from it, a young person of daily mass, of frequent prayer... a "white blackbird", we could say... and she was converted.

In this case, it was on a trip to the Holy Land, on the shores of the Sea of Tiberias, when, listening to John's Gospel account, he noticed that, like Peter, Christ asked him directly, without anesthesia: "Do you love me more than these?"He had heard it hundreds, thousands of times, at Mass, reading the Gospel, in retreats and various pilgrimages.

But the words turned - "conversus" - towards her and, for the first time, she noticed that yes, God was indeed asking her if she really loved him. God already knew that she was good, that she tried to do things well, that she was even "exemplary", but he brought her face to face with the true reason that would move her life: love.

Do you love me more than these, more than these, more than the vanity of seeing how great you are, more than even all the good things you do...?

And there, on that not at all paradisiacal beach, that good person became.

He took the reason of love for God, which is what matters in this life and the measure of judgment in eternity. He continued to go to Mass, he continued with his usual life, but under a different perspective: that of loving-loving Christ.

The Christian life is not based on "being good" or "feeling good". The basis, what gives meaning to it is to choose Christ, to love Christ. As Benedict XVI affirms, "one does not begin to be a Christian by an ethical decision or a great idea, but by an encounter with an event, with a Person, who gives a new horizon to one's life and, with it, a decisive orientation".

We are in this world for love (for the love of God, of our parents in most cases, for the love of those who care for us) and to love, and look where, the sequence is quite similar. We are all clear about this maxim and yet, its oblivion is recurrent in the history of mankind: we forget that God loves us and we deform, manipulate and degrade the meaning of love and then we choose other things, which must not be bad... but which are not God.

With great mastery, the Cardinal related, in this regard, that Fco. Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan a light he had, when, as a young bishop, he was imprisoned 1,700 km away from his diocese in a tiny cell. There, suffering for all the good he had begun to do and could no longer continue, "One night, from the bottom of my heart I heard a voice suggesting to me: 'Why do you torment yourself like this? You have to distinguish between God and God's works. All that you have done and wish to continue doing: pastoral visits, formation of seminarians, religious men and women, laity, young people, construction of schools, of homes for students, missions for the evangelization of non-Christians... all this is an excellent work, they are works of God, but they are not God! If God wants you to abandon all these works, putting them in his hands, do it soon and have confidence in Him. God will do infinitely better than you; He will entrust His works to others who are far more capable than you. You have chosen God alone, not his works'".

The authorMaria José Atienza

Editor-in-Chief at Omnes. Degree in Communication, with more than 15 years of experience in Church communication. She has collaborated in media such as COPE or RNE.

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